Questioning my assumptions

From Chris A

Since commencing a reevaluation of my beliefs earlier this fall, I've become consumed with doubts, and I was hoping that perhaps some of the former Christians here could give my troubling questions an answer. I would have gone straight to your excellent forums with this, but something seems to have gone wrong with the sign-in process...

As I recall, this ordeal started when, while attempting to improve my debating technique, I decided that a Socratic analysis of my deepest convictions and why I held them might help me reach a better understanding of the art of argument.

This was a mistake, albeit an enlightening one; after some analysis, I had stumbled onto an important aspect of the relationship between the position of atheism, and the position of Fundamentalist Christianity.

As I see it, any atheist position will rest on two or three assumptions, the most common being that human reason is sufficient to determine the validity of any proposition. However, in assuming this, doesn't the atheist thereby admit a prejudice into any argument they might use?

It gets worse, obviously. Once I'd called the reason into question in the name of complete impartiality... Well, you can imagine the nightmares, I'm sure. With no way to reliably measure the likelihood of Christianity's claims, my infrequent thoughts of "What if it is true?" have become full-blown all-consuming fears that threaten to drive me from my comfortable lifestyle and straight to the nearest mourner's bench. My work is suffering, I've made absolutely no progress with my therapist in weeks, and I'd probably be suicidal if I wasn't so afraid of being tortured forever. How many of you have had experiences this terrible? How did you deal with it?

...Thank you for your time.

103 comments:

SpaceMonk said...

Sounds like you've outwitted yourself.

You need to get angry. ;)

Fear is the mind killer.
Anger is the fear killer.
Stand up for yourself against your God.

Alan A said...

Gosh, you really are having a tough time, aren't you, Chris? You poor, poor, fundie thing!

I did not have a terrible time at all when I walked away from Christianity. The air of unbelief is clean and pure, its burden light. Now that I know my time on earth is short, the colours and sounds and experiences of this world are brighter, more vibrant, more satisfying. Why would I want to end such a fantastic life?

Now you run off and read your Bronze Age book about demons and hell and pain and eternal fire, and leave us alone.

Anonymous said...

Chris,
Some people's answers are just cruel,but we can't change other people...right?
I denounced Christianity recently and have had a few thoughts about my choice, but it doesn't take me long to get back to reality. Try watching a video from NASA Hubble. It's a good way to remind ourselves just how insignificant the earth is in the whole relm of things. I choose the Universal God.

Tim said...

You said:

As I see it, any atheist position will rest on two or three assumptions, the most common being that human reason is sufficient to determine the validity of any proposition. However, in assuming this, doesn't the atheist thereby admit a prejudice into any argument they might use?



What other thing can we use but reason? In fact, you used reason to determine that reason might not be enough! hahahaha

Reason is all we can rely on. Reason and logic. ie, truth.

Truth is, Christianity CAN be shown to be false BEYOND any reasonable doubt. Trillions of words have been written on this issue and for me, I personally have read ENOUGH of them to put the issue to rest completely.

I suggest you read up on the "dirt" of Christianty and the contradictions of it. Also, Earl Doherty's Jesus Puzzle site/book is good.

tim

Anonymous said...

In my own life, Chris, I've both believed in a god and believed in myself. Believing in myself worked very well until...I found myself unable to control my destructive craving for alcohol. I tried AA's recommendation. I admitted my failure at self management and asked my higher power to take that craving away. In an instant it was gone, and it has not returned in 327 days. But I do have to keep on turning the management of my life to something I now call God, who has greater knowledge than I have. In time I am developing a greater faith and an easier reliance on this being I call God, just because of what that Being has shown me in every day experiences walking with him.

I think the crux of it for me is...I could never have thought my way there.

Unknown said...

shI feel for you, kiddo, but you've got to realize something: you're framing the question in a pejorative way. That's because you've always been taught that faith is superior to reason, when it isn't. Faith is defined as "belief without evidence." Another word for that is "gullibility." Faith is not a virtue. Faith is a character flaw.

*Reason* is superior to faith because, quite simply, reason *works*.

I didn't abjure [fundamentalist] christianity suddenly; I grew into atheism over a period of years, as a result of a wonderful spiritual journey. I grew up a christian fundamentalist with all the same fears that you're experiencing. Rejoice when I tell you that there's a cure for what ails you - and the cure is reason.

The rational life is sober (as opposed to the addiction of theism), practical, clean, and awe-inspiring. Instead of singing that this world is not my home, I'm just a-passin' through, I *know* that I am part of the planet and all its wonders. Each lifeform is my relative, however distant. I am *connected*.

What's more, atheism doesn't mean that I can live my life hell-bent-for-leather. It means I must conciously do my best at all times to behave morally and responsibly, because there isn't any big supernatural guy out there who's going to administer some ultimate justice or magically make things right. Sometimes it's tough to think through moral choices, but it's ever so much more rewarding than simply looking up an "answer" in an old book of mythology. I've actually found that my behavior has improved and become *more* responsible since I grew into atheism, rather than less.

And realizing that the horrid biblical god who would torture a human "soul" [in quotes because it's only a theological conceit and doesn't really exist] is just an old myth is calming and liberating. Now that I know no such being as "god" exists, I can't believe how I ever believed that it did - although I can clearly remember doing so, as I can clearly remember the fear of eternal damnation.

How can you call a being that would torture a concious entity on an everlasting basis a "loving" god? The simple answer is, you can't.

Don't be afraid of where reason leads you. There's nothing you need to be saved *from*. Life is finite, but life is good. Embrace it, instead of pinning your hopes on some reward in the afterlife promised to you by a death cult.

Anonymous said...

Alan... that's hardly the way to be going about things. Should not part of the site's encouragement process for ex-Christians extend to relieving the doubts of those truly seeking answers? Where else might the original poster go, to a Christian apologetics website? That would hardly do any good, for obvious reasons.
Even I still have random doubts of my own, and it helps a lot to have nonjudgmental intellectual support from the non-Christian side of things.

To Chris: It sounds as though you're overthinking things a little too much. You're going to drive yourself crazy with it. (Curiously, that was one of the things that led me to deconversion. I couldn't take the constant threat of damnation along with my growing apathy towards God and prayer, and needed to do something to retain my sanity.)

Your dilemma seems to be whether you think you can rely an atheist's reason as the truth. Sadly, there will always be a bias on both ends of the argument, and so all we can do is take both, and use our individual inner reason to draw our own conclusion from them. And that information doesn't even have to be limited to Christianity, either. Let your mind wander; explore other theologies, reasonings and scientific theories! Personally, first of all, I suggest looking into astronomy and pictures of outer space. That put a lot of things about the universe and the concept of life into perspective for me. But everyone is different. Try what you will.

I rather enjoy the exercise, myself... philosophy is a refreshing and fascinating subject.

Anonymous said...

You still need to break it down even further. I am not Buddhist what I will say next will sound Zen. Sorry, but this is how I see it.

Craig Duckett over at www.control-z.com talks about the artifice of words. Duckett is one of the contributors to the Debunking Christianity blog. He explains reality is what IS before language is used to explain it. Though he does talk somewhat of Buddhist principles, he does a very good job breaking down a lot of our assumptions about reality.

Basically, what I took from his site can be summed up by taking a look at a newborn child. My daughter, who is a month old today, doesn't talk, and doesn't understand words yet. She isn't concerned about where she came from, if a god exists, if there is a heaven, etc. She isn't concerned with logic and reason, and doesn't appreciate the philosophers and literary greats. She just lives and ''is''. And she does quite well.

Again, although I don't practice Buddhism, meditation, or Zen, he brings up some very interesting points about ''Enlightenment''. Although I am very passionate about knowing the truth of my existence, and I love philosophy, science, and religion, and I am even open to the possibility that a god might exist, I find a lot of comfort seeing the world in such a basic manner. The world just ''is'', and I just ''am''.

I highly recommend his site.

SEO said...

Here’s something that might help: Julia Sweeney’s “Letting Go of God.” It’s an audio book and it can be found itunes.

Anonymous said...

What most people don't realize is just how powerful the human mind and body really is. Everything that we as humans accomplish, we do so on our own. Many won't acknowledge this because they have been subjected to the god idea too early in life or at low times in life such as alcoholic or drug abusers and don't realize that they themselves accomplished what they give a "god" credit for. We are truly amazing creatures. Give yourself a break and think for yourself.

Anonymous said...

Reason is not sufficient to determine the validity of any proposition. For anything of this world, it also requires validation through evidence.

And if not reason, then what? Unreason? Which is approximately what faith comes down to these days.

I used to have thoughts like "what if it's true", too. And when I thought about it more, or did some research on it, I found less and less reason to think it could be. What really bought it home to me, though, was when I began investigating various paranormal claims, and found each and every one of them to involve a deception or a lie. And I realized it was no different with the paranormal claims of religion.

Anonymous said...

Chris-

I have a couple of thoughts that will offer and hope that they help. Sounds like youre really struggling. I feel for you. Christian apologetics can get you tied up in knots and Christian theology isn’t exactly comforting for the doubter.

The honest answer is that yes, atheism does assume the validity of reason. As far as I can tell, this is an irreducible assumption, or an axiom – the starting point of an intellectual system that is not itself subject to proof. How would you prove reason? With reason? That’s circular, of course, and reason itself forbids it. Some of the individual axioms in logic, such as x=x (the law of identity), are thought to be “self-evident” and that is why they are not further argued. This is debatable, but the larger point is that yes, atheism is not an assumptionless system.

Two things to remember. First, Christianity “believes” in reason, too. Without reason you would speak and think gibberish, even when talking apologetics. Many Christian apologists are careful to state their ideas in formal logical form. So, it is not that atheism assumes reasons without warrant and Christianity does not; *both* must assume, and use, reason. And reasons seems to work just fine to get us around our lives, whether we are believers or not. The question is, why does Christianity go on and assume more?

Secondly, the main argument Christians seem to put up about reason being a bias is better stated, I think, in terms of the *authority* of reason. Christians say it is a bias to claim the authority of reason, which they point out (correctly) cannot be argued, but rather assumed, and so they feel justified in claiming their own authority without argument, such as the Bible.

The problem with this is that *they use reason too*, i.e. they clearly believe and do not question that reason constitutes some authority, just not (in their view) the highest authority. So, Christians and atheists agree: reason has authority. The question is, how much?

My answer is that any discussion of this question, any argument about it, any assessment of the options, *must assume the highest authority of reason*. How could it be otherwise? Look at what you are doing in your post! You are using reason to question reason and the validity of Christianity. You must assume that reason can settle that question, otherwise there would be no point in talking about it.

And what is the alternative? Assume the authority of the Bible, since our highest authorities must be assumed? Okay, fine – so I will assume the authority of the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Now, prove me wrong. *Without* assuming the authority of reason to challenge my claim.

See? Reason has to be your starting point before you can think at all. You must use it to evaluate all claims, including the question of whether the Bible has validity.

The question is not whether atheism has assumptions or not. Of course it does. But so does Christianity. The question to ask yourself is: which system assumes more? And which assumes things we can do without? We all agree on reason. Why add more?

Good luck –

Richard

Anonymous said...

A question you should ask youself is why would a loving parent harshly punish their child for asking logical questions.


Sandra

Bill B said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bill B said...

Hey Steven B. I am a recovering drunk with 16 years of sobriety under my belt. To give credit to an imaginary invisible man in the sky would be short selling my accomplishment of getting my shit together. My sobriety came from a combination of will power, the want to change, and real people in the real word. God Damn it makes me mad when people give credit to something that isn't there. It was all you Steve. If God were real and really cared he wouldn't have given you a drinking problem in the first place. He would have kept your drinking fun and under control for the long haul.

xrayman

Unknown said...

I didn't have time to read all of the comments above, so I may repeat things, but here goes...

First, I think you seem to be thinking, but still upset that you'll think too much and go to hell. Don't believe that "Pascal's Wager" thing. Strict belief without questioning is not the safest bet. If God is Allah, then you're going to hell, for example (although I HIGHLY doubt that). Also, imagine that there is a God out there who left absolutely no trace of His existence and wanted humans to use their minds and actually question his existence to show that humans can think for themselves. If that's the case, then He might send to hell anyone who doesn't think for him/herself.

As for me, I don't think that there is a God and I'm not scared of going to hell. You see, if God merely sent everyone who didn't believe in him to hell, He would be a tyrant worse than Hitler or anyone else. I'm living in Japan right now (thought I'm from the U.S.) and I've met some of the sweetest people. I've also lived in Singapore and have Chinese and other friends who are not Christians. Like I said, they're all great people. Now, will God send them to Hell? If a shy and polite 14-year old Japanese girl who has a dream to work for a charity when she grows up instead gets hit and killed by a bus tomorrow, would she go to hell? Think about it. Any God who would make her suffer forever is the vilest being in the universe. And if that is so, then isn't that God more like a devil? And then, isn't hell more like heaven and vice versa? I'd rather be with nice people like her than with Pat Robertson, that's for sure. So don't fear Hell. If God will send you there for merely expressing doubt, then your God is not an awesome God.

"As I see it, any atheist position will rest on two or three assumptions, the most common being that human reason is sufficient to determine the validity of any proposition."

That's an approximation of an atheist's thoughts, but in truth, that statement is false. Atheists don't say that human reason can determine the validity of any proposition. If one proposition is that "There are three trillion planets in the universe" and another holds that there are three trillion and one planets in the universe", an atheist might feel that it's impossible to ever know which is right. However, we know that the number surely isn't five and if someone knows beyond a doubt the exact number of planets, then we want to see the evidence, and that shouldn't only consist of a 2,000 year old book. Similarly, no scientist has ever observed a flying sleigh pulled by reindeer during Christmas eve, so that leads atheists to believe that the nonexistence of modern-day present-giving Santa Claus is more likely than the existence of him.

As for the suicide stuff... You should think about the slim chances that brought you into the world. You are the the marriage of one egg (one of which is excreted every month) and one sperm (300,000 of which are excreted every ejaculation) and any other combination would have produced one of hundreds of millions of possible siblings, who would instead get to live life.

BMorality said...

Many have written great responses to your post. I won't elaborate much except to say that many of us, myself included were brainwashed as children. As Dawkins states, as children, we have a duality in our thinking. At a young age we tend to find it very easy to think of our consciousness and our physical self as two different things. It's not until we get older that we're more capable of connecting the two into one whole being. (I hope I remembered that all correctly). The church exploits this youthful outlook. It sticks with us for a long time and it's hard to get over.

Your fears are all in your head. They're not real and neither is god.

Richard said...

Atheism is based, as you say, in the assumption of rationality and so is everything else. Reason is what gives thoughts meaning and if you try to give up reason, then you can't make any intelligible proposition.
All people, religious or nor, assume rationality because that is the only way to have coherent thinking and action.

So, don't worry about it. You simply found the basis of all cognition and reasoning.

Anonymous said...

Chris,

There is a lot of valuable advice already given here..the only thing I have to add to to keep asking the hard questions...of christianity (or other beliefs... including atheism). I have been where you are and it is only by asking the tough questions that you get to the issue even if the answer is unknowable. Also commit to being scrupulously honest with yourself. I truly believe that many of the atheists on this site, if they were honest with themselves, would agree that there are presuppostions of atheism that don't make sense and cannot be reached thru reason. That is why at best I believe that there can only be agnostics (which I consider myself to be) despite what many on this site will tell you.

Aspentroll said...

Chris:
You have been brainwashed, most likely by your parents in the beginning and the church as you grew up.

I was the opposite and have no fears of the fire and brimstone teachings of the bible.

Just where do you suppose this "heaven" and "hell that worry you so much are located? Common sense and clear thinking should tell you that these places are
the delusions of very disturbed people. I'm sure that science has not found either of these places and would totally denounce their existence.

Get yourself clear of all the people who think that way and start to enjoy the only life we have and quit worrying about imaginary god(s) and some gold plated afterlife crap.

You most likely have read the bible, now just think about what it is saying. It is full of 2000 year old mythology which is not believable.

http://godisimaginary.com/
is a good place to start.

I wish you success in your
conversion to reality.

boomSLANG said...

That is why at best I believe that there can only be agnostics (which I consider myself to be) despite what many on this site will tell you.

With due respect, I'd like to once again clear up this common misconception about Atheism.

"Atheism" is not a proclamation that "GOD DOES NOT EXIST!!"; it's not a manifesto that there is no god. Again, it is merely the lack of belief that God/gods exist. In other words, one can still lack absolute knowledge concerning the existence of something, and either believe, or not believe, that the existence of said thing is likely. To illustrate, one can never be certain that there are not invisible pixies in their closet. In that sense, one must be "Agnostic"(lack of knowledge) But at the same time, one can still conclude that it's not bloody likely that there are pixies in their closet, and therefore, rightfully lack belief. No "presuppositions" needed.

His Child said...

Hey so I was looking for an old testimonial I wrote when I was a witch. I am a christian now. I stumbled upon this instead. In 1 Timothy the Bible says "God hath not given a spirit of fear but of power love and a sound mind." I've been walking with the Lord now for 7 years. Since coming to Him he has healed me of depression, post traumatic stress disorder, asthma (caused by a spirit of fear)and has provided for me in ways that would take too long to go into here. Besides, I have the suspision my entry may be deleted. Anyhow, God is good all of the time. When your peace has been stolen you know the devil is at work. He prowls around like a lion searching to steal kill and destroy. Lions pick off thoses on the outskirts. If you want to know if there is a God and who he is... Ask Him. He is big enough to tell you. When I asked who the God of creation was with my whole heart He revealed himself to me. He said His name was Elohim. That is the word that means the plural form of God. Father, Son, Sprit. It is in Genesis. The Father willed creation the word spoke it and the Holy Spirit did it. The Word being Jesus is in 1 John, among other places. A lot of people don't really want to know the truth. It sounds like you do. When you step under His wings of protection you will find His blessings. When you step out from under His wings you will recieve your enemies blessings. In Psalms the Bible says the Father gives His children rest. Return to His safety. He is waiting to sing over you with joy. Zephania 3:17 The Lord our God is in the midst of you, a saviour [who saves] He will rejoice over you with joy,He will rest[in silent satisfaction] and in His love He will make no mention [of past sins or even recall them], He will exalt over you with singing. I was a like the prodigal son, well a girl version and there isn't a single blessing He has with held from me. Even though I was a witch and a stripper and went totally after my own will. He is a Faithful Father and all He wants to do is take joy in you and love on you. There is no condemnation for those in Christ who walk not after the flesh but after His Holy Spirit. God bless you and keep you from all the wiles of the enemy.

webmdave said...

Hi "His Child,"

You are a victim of magical thinking. I was caught in that trap for 30 years. Maybe one day you'll be free of it. I hope so.

boomSLANG said...

HC: In 1 Timothy the Bible says "God hath not given a spirit of fear but of power love and a sound mind."

***Listen closely. Reciting what "the Bible says", or what any other religious document "says", is immaterial--- that is, unless/until you can provide evidence that said document is objectively/universally true. Hint: To say that the bible is true because it says it's true, is circular reasoning, and thus, it falls under the bare assertion fallacy....i.e.."Hey, the Holy Qur'an is true!!!... and I know this because it says right in it's pages that its true!!!"

So what?

HC: I've been walking with the Lord now for 7 years. Since coming to Him he has healed me of depression, post traumatic stress disorder, asthma (caused by a spirit of fear)and has provided for me in ways that would take too long to go into here.

When you say you've been "walking with the Lord", that, of course, is metaphorically speaking. You haven't really been "walking" with any "Lords". Do you firmly believe in a "Lord"? Sure, but until you offer emipircal/tangible evidence that this "Lord" exists anywhere outside you head, your belief dead-ends at "I believe". Your ailments were, at best, healed by the placebo effect of belief. Moreover, people of other faiths/other geographical locations have been claiming to have been healed by their respective "Lords" since the dark ages. How would you explain that? It's all in their heads, right?....coincidence, right?

HC: Anyhow, God is good all of the time

LMAO! Um, define "good".

HC: He prowls around like a lion searching to steal kill and destroy. Lions pick off thoses on the outskirts. If you want to know if there is a God and who he is... Ask Him.

We've already "asked Him" only to be blatantly ignored, many of us, for more than half our lives. There comes a time when we must be intellectually honest with ourselves, and say there is either no one there, or if there is, they just don't give damn. And anyway, you're a grown adult, right? Do you seriously believe that an evil man-devil in a red suit who lives in the center of the earth is responsible forth the ills of mankind? If so, have you ever critically examined that belief?

HC: When I asked who the God of creation was with my whole heart He revealed himself to me. He said His name was Elohim.

Lol. Can you describe this "voice" for us? Was it low-pitched?..or more tenor? Did "Elohim" speak to you in Hebrew?..or English? If English, was it with a British accent? Please, do tell.

HC: A lot of people don't really want to know the truth.

Which is why people bury their heads in the sand of religion.

HC: In Psalms the Bible sa..(CUT!!!!)[edit: insert irrelevant cherry-picked bible verse]

See here***, above.

HC: God bless you and keep you from all the wiles of the enemy.

God 'less you. May reason keep you from all the wiles of ignorance.

Anonymous said...

Hi Boomslang, sorry couldn't use my sign in His Child
You seem a little on the angry side. I've been there. Okay so you said you didn't want me to quote the Bible because it didn't mean anything. But then you got angry that I cited a scripture without the adress. In Proverbs 26:4 the Bible says to Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Proverbs 26:5 Says Answer a fool according to his folly lest he be wise unto his own conceit. So I was tossed up about whethor or not to answer. However I am not in danger of renouncing my God who has delivered me faithfully so I figured what the heck. Walking with the Lord not Lords. I guess you could say it was metaphorical but it's really pretty literal. See I have a close relationship with Him. He talks to me and I listen. I talk to Him and He listens. He warns me of danger...so I can avoid it. One time my daughter had a neighbor friend she played with. God told me to stop sending her there for her safety. I obeyed and later found out the dadhad questionable character in some areas. We prayed for direction and God moved us across the country a few years ago. So yeah I've walked with Him. I spend time talking to God reading His word praying and living my life with his companionship and guidence. I used to ache inside with loneliness. Everyone has a God shaped void. When I did not have God I was never at Peace. That has changed. Yeah, your right the fact that I've been healed is a poor argument. The devil has counterfits for the real blessings of God. Jesus even said that it didn't matter if people saw miracles it would not change whethor or not people would follow Him. I used to do Reiki so I do know about other means of healings. The thing is though that I used to get mad and say throw a cup at my husbands head. That's changed after spending time with God whose name is Love I can disagree peacefully. The fruits of the Holy Spirit are love joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.Against such things there is no law Galatians 5. So I'm a nicer person and I feel good. I'm not mad at you. Neither is God. He extends His love to you every day so that you have the opportunity to feel His love. It isn't even because you are that great. It's because His son died and stands next to Him waiting to vouch for you. He waits for you to recieve Him just so He can pour His love out on you. It isn't about being good. It's just about receiving a totally free gift to live free from sin and condemnation. When you accept Christ His Spirit dwells inside of you helping and comforting you. He doesn't get mad when you blow it. His very essence is forgiveness. When you decide to follow Him you will indeed hear His voice in John 10:27 Jesus says My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me. I've heard Gods voice many times in many ways it is a still quiet voice most often so you have to be still inside to hear it. Occasionally it is very loud and awesome.It is described that way in Psalm 29. I'm noy going to write it all out but feel free to look it up. define Good. Okay a God who wants nothing more than to free you from all fear anger shame unforgiveness strife envy condemnation suffering disease torment ect. A God who asks nothing of you aside that you believe that He is good loves you wishes the best for you sent his son to make you righteous because he Knew you couldn't live according to the law on your own so he substituted in your place and clothes you with His righteousness continuesly so that you can stand unashamed &free in His presence for all eternity. That is how I define Good. And Good All of the Time. Such is the nature of God. The devil. No he does not wear a red suit. He was an angel who decided he wanted to rule heaven. He was the most beautiful angel God created his name was Lucifer. He rallied together 1/3 of the angels God created. God kicked them out of heaven. Now they are disembodied creations. They look around trying to borrow peoples bodies and manifest themselves in all kinds of evil maners. Some of these demons have assighnments against you. There names are doubt and unbelief. Torment anger hatred ect. Remember the okld cartoons with an angel on one side and the devil on the other? It's kindof like that. When you have thoughts like "I'll never forgive him for that" or "I hate her she's so.." that is the enemy of your soul whispering in your ear looking to help destroy your peace.Really listen to your thoughts if you don't believe me. In Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities,against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 2 Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. so yeah your right a lot of the battle for your soul is in your mind. Do I choose to fear or have faith? Do I choose to hate or love? Do I choose to harbor unforgiveness or forgive? We make these choices every day. All God wants is to help you prosper in every way for your total peace and all you have to do is accept that Jesus died on a cross and three days later rose from the dead conquering sin for all eternity so you could be free. He stayed on eath for a while appearing all over the world before his accension. you can find accounts of his appearance in many different cultures including native American. Well, I have a life and my kids need to sleep. I hope you find the truth. You don't have to be mad. God loves you so much.

Anonymous said...

Boom,
Doesn't 'his child' remind you of another female 'admirer' you had recent dealings with...perhaps a bit TOO much?

ATF

webmdave said...

I just want to know if the latest crop of Christian posters are attending school. Some of the writing and comprehension skills seem a bit lacking.

His Child,

Here's a little advice: Since nearly no one is going to read through a giant block of uninterrupted text, I suggest you learn the meaning and application of the word "paragraph."

boomSLANG said...

Dear Anonymous/"His Child",

I'm afraid the webmaster has a point. It pained me to read only the first 20 words of your "rebuttle", based on content, alone.....nevermind the remaining 2 million words you managed to jam together. Although, if I squint my eyes and look at it, I can see that you quoted some more scripture for me to totally ignore.

If you feel inclined, feel free to re-write your post using PARAGRAPHS, and I may, or may not, pick out and disect a few of your arguments. BTW, you can leave out the scripture to save us both time. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

No one knows what God is, beyond "The creator of the Universe"

The Bible's description of God, and the asinine Jesus story, (I'm not saying that a nice guy like Jesus never lived. I understand there were several Jesus' around at the time), is obviously to silly, and illogical, for a sane person to believe.

Just saying "I don't know" works for me. It is very comforting to know that I don't have to know how or why we are here, and just go on with my life.

You don't have to completely understand the answers to all of the age old philosophical questions, to enjoy life, and be a productive, and valuable member of society!

I'm sure that when someone figures out what God is, it will get around quickly enough for me to embrace it. Till then I will just keep saying:

"I don't know, and I am fairly certain that no one els does either!"

TheJaytheist said...

Dano!

Haven't seen you post in a while? Is it just that I missed 'em or did you take a vacation?

I read the whole block by HC and it's mindnumbingly obtuse.

I did enjoy the little quip about boomslang being infested with the demons named doubt and unbelief. As if they don't infest HC.

I mean, if doubt was a demon how can a person not have it when it comes to any other beliefs? Is it god allowing the demon of doubt to indwell in the christian when someone states that jebus wasn't gods son? This kind of "thinking" makes me laugh.

Anonymous said...

His Child said:

Everyone has a God shaped void.

Wow! I've got an invisible, magical hole in me shaped like the Holy Farter? Glory!

But... the Holy Farter is a Spook! (John 4:24) How can a Spook have a shape?

Anonymous said...

stronger now wrote:
"Dano!
Haven't seen you post in a while? Is it just that I missed 'em or did you take a vacation?"

I've been over in the forums molesting one of those slippery Christians who wants to say proudly that they are a Christian, and then act like they are in possession of a secret reason for believing it, that no one else has.

You know the kind that you can never pin down.

Been saving HC till after my nap when I would feel stronger!

Hi Jeff!
Glad to see your nasty self is still so effectively taking em down a couple of notches.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it does look a liitle overwhelming with no breaks. Sorry.

Hi Boomslang, sorry couldn't use my sign in His Child

You seem a little on the angry side. I've been there. Okay so you said you didn't want me to quote the Bible because it didn't mean anything. But then you got angry that I cited a scripture without the adress.

In Proverbs 26:4 the Bible says to Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Proverbs 26:5 Says Answer a fool according to his folly lest he be wise unto his own conceit. So I was tossed up about whethor or not to answer. However I am not in danger of renouncing my God who has delivered me faithfully so I figured, what the heck.

Walking with the Lord not Lords. I guess you could say it was metaphorical but it's really pretty literal. See I have a close relationship with Him. He talks to me and I listen. I talk to Him and He listens. He warns me of danger...so I can avoid it.

One time my daughter had a neighbor friend she played with. God told me to stop sending her there for her safety. I obeyed and later found out the dad had questionable character in some areas.

We prayed for direction and God moved us across the country a few years ago. We found out later that things would have been really bad if we hadn't moved.

So yeah, I've walked with Him. I spend time talking to God, reading His word, praying and living my life with his companionship and guidence.

I used to ache inside with loneliness. Everyone has a God shaped void. When I did not have God I was never at Peace. That has changed.

Yeah, you're right. The fact that I've been healed is a poor arguement. The devil has counterfits for the real blessings of God. Jesus even said that it didn't matter if people saw miracles. It would not change whether or not people would follow Him. I used to do Reiki so I do know about other means of healings.

The thing is though when I used to get mad I'd throw a cup at my husbands head. That's changed after spending time with God whose name is Love. I can disagree peacefully.

The fruits of the Holy Spirit are love joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against suchthings there is no law Galatians 5. So I'm a nicer person and I feel good.

I'm not mad at you. Neither is God. He extends His love to you every day so that you have the opportunity to feel His love.

It isn't even because you are that great. It's because His son died and stands next to Him waiting to vouch for you. He waits for you to recieve Him just so He can pour His love out on you.

It isn't about being good. It's just about receiving a totally free gift to live free from sin and condemnation. When you accept Christ His Spirit dwells inside of you helping and comforting you. He doesn't get mad when you blow it. His very essence is forgiveness.

When you decide to follow Him you will indeed hear His voice.

John 10:27 Jesus says My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me.

I've heard Gods voice many times in many ways it is a still quiet voice most often so you have to be still inside to hear it.
Occasionally it is very loud and awesome.It is described that way in Psalm 29. I'm noy going to write it all out but feel free to look it up.

define Good. Okay. AGod who wants nothing more than to free you from all fear, anger, shame, unforgiveness, strife, envy condemnation, suffering, disease, torment ect.

A God who asks nothing of you aside that you believe that He is good, loves you, wishes the best for you, and sent Hisson to make you righteous because HeKnew you couldn't live according to the law on your own. He died in your place and clothes you with His righteousness continuously so that you can stand unashamed and free in His presence for all eternity. That is how I define Good.

And Good All of the Time. Such is the nature of God.

The devil. No he does not wear a red suit. He was an angel who decided he wanted to rule heaven. He was the most beautiful angel God created.

His name was Lucifer. He rallied together 1/3 of the angels God created. God kicked them out of heaven. Now they are disembodied creations. They look around trying to borrow peoples bodies and manifest themselves in all kinds of evil maners. Some of these demons have assignments against you.

Don't take that personally, they have assignments against us all. They are supposed to keep non- believers from believing. They are supposed to keep believers from the depth of fellowship God intended for them to have with Him and other believers. Their names are doubt and unbelief, unforgiveness, torment,anger, hatred, etc. By whatever negative emotion they cause, you can call them.

Remember the old cartoons with an angel on one side and the devil on the other? It's kindof like that. When you have thoughts like "I'll never forgive him for that" or "I hate her she's so.." that is the enemy of your soul whispering in your ear looking to help destroy your peace.Really listen to your thoughts if you don't believe me.

In Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities,against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

2 Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.

So yeah, you're right. A lot of the battle for your soul is in your mind. Do I choose to fear or have faith? Do I choose to hate or love? Do I choose to harbor unforgiveness or forgive? We make these choices every day.

All God wants is to help you prosper in every way for your total peace and all you have to do is accept that Jesus died on a cross and three days later rose from the dead conquering sin for all eternity so you could be free.

He stayed on eath for a while appearing all over the world before his accension. You can find accounts of his appearance in many different cultures including native American.

I hope you find the truth. You don't have to be mad. God loves you so much.

If you find it hard to say or spell the name Jesus think about why that might be. It is the most powerful name on earth and the devils hate it.

When I had a familiar Spirit in me it was hard to touch the Bible it made me want to throw up. The devil fights hard to keep people from God. It's his job.

He hates God so much he wants you stolen from God because God thinks you are a jewel. Malachi 3:17
He wants to destroy you because God created you for His pleasure. It's not even about us so much . It's all between them.

The devil hates God so he attacks what God loves. God saw the attacks were too great for us to overcome. He sent Jesus who gave us a get out of Hell free card. Now we just choose. If we screw up after we choose... He's faithful to forgive us.

It's so simple but the devil makes it seem so hard...Oh well, I made my choice I'm happy God bless you all.

webmdave said...

His Child,

Just click the "other" radio button and type in "His Child." It's really quite simple.

Now, about this saying or writing Jesus. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.

Hmm. Easy.

Yeshua was his real name though. And that's no problem either.

Superstition and magical thinking must do funny things to people.

HC, you became a better person because you were tired of being a bitch. There was no magic in it. It was all you. Good for you!

TheJaytheist said...

JESUS.
jesus.
jebus.
jesus christ.
jesus h. christ.
christ on the cross.
christ on a cracker.

Yeshua smeshua, it don't matter how I write it or say it I still don't "feel the burn". Oh wait, am I supposed to be touching a bible to feel it....

...O.K. now I'm sitting on a bible and writing the name (jesus...susej) there backward forward... Still nothin'.

Perhaps I need to sit on a bible while making a ventriliquist dummy say jesus while I drink a glass of holy water...then I'll feel awful trying to say it 'cause of them demons.

His Child said...

Boomslang,

I wanted to apologize. I should not have referenced you as a fool. I don't know your story.

I'm guessing somebody claiming to be a christian hurt you. They may have been a christian. One hurt me a couple of weeks ago. Christians aren't perfect. That's why they need Christ.

I'm glad you can say Jesus, Webmaster. Regardless of whether He is God or not He certainly was a man worth the respect of saying or writing His name correctly. I hear love when you write Yeshua. You've been in His presence before.

fjell said...

HC said: It's just about receiving a totally free gift to live free from sin and condemnation.

Whose condemnation is the gift good for circumventing?

If you are tempted to reply "God's", I implore you to really comprehend the ludicrousness of that suggestion, (and yet I shall grant you that you are, to my knowledge, right on the money as regards doctrine!) I have added two words to your original phrasing, just to clarify the madness.

"It's just about receiving a totally free gift (from God) to live free from sin and condemnation (from God)."

fjell

Anonymous said...

Hey Child!
Haven't you heard?

God blinked his eye and "unmade" Satan and all of those other bad angels.

Where is God's name have you been, that you didn't know that?

He also demoted Jesus from "only son" to just son. He realized that to call Jesus his "only son," relegated us to second class sons and daughters, or chopped liver if you may.

I was walking with Jesus (I run across him at Walmart quite often), down here in one of his favorite States, NC, just last Tuesday, when he gave me the update.

SEO said...

“It's so simple but the devil makes it seem so hard...”

ORLY?

Well Anony, I’ve been blessed (lack of a better word) a wonderfully nonreligious upbringing…so I’m somewhat and interloper on this site but I feel that it is one of the best places for insight of the nonreligious, the newly nonreligious, and the ridiculously religious.

As for your statement from above, it reflects a lack of understanding of this site.

I mean really if you had bothered to read anything of the anti-testimonies, you would see that a lot of people here couldn’t have open their opened their minds and hearts towards your god - short of a chest cutter and scalpel.

Ask Stronger Now and Xrayman on how low they got while begging your god. What they got was silence.

Seriously, if I am that important to your god, he sure didn't fight for us very hard. Pactically, handed us over to the Debbil on a buttered cast-iron frying pan.

I'm not asking for much. I’d take a view of his holy ass or his assholy. Just flash, even. Or the very least more than his silence. "Hello, is this thing on?"

If your god exists, he a smarmy, nasty motherfucker who is not worth worshiping.

freethinker05 said...

Alooneyus, just how did Big "G" kick Big "D" out of heaven, when they both are supposed to be spooks,(spirits)? I've ask God, why he ever let me believe in such SHIT, but, he still refuses to answer me. Roger...A/A

boomSLANG said...

SEO said:

"I mean really if you[anony'/H.C.] had bothered to read anything of the anti-testimonies, you would see that a lot of people here couldn’t have open their opened their minds and hearts towards your god - short of a chest cutter and scalpel.

Seriously, if I am that important to your god, he sure didn't fight for us very hard. Pactically, handed us over to the Debbil on a buttered cast-iron frying pan.

I'm not asking for much. I’d take a view of his holy ass or his assholy. Just flash, even. Or the very least more than his silence. 'Hello, is this thing on?'

If your god exists, he a smarmy, nasty motherfucker who is not worth worshiping."


Eeeeeee-yesss! A women after my own heart!(if not female, disregard that part) Thanks, SEO, for saving me the time of responding to that long, vapid, immaterial, appeal to emotion.

Note to Christian Anonies: We did NOT leave the Christian "Faith" because of "other Christians"; we left because of the Christian "Faith". Get over it......aND yourselves. Thanks.

freethinker05 said...

Byegod Bill, I am so happy for your sobriety of 16 yrs. I used to ask Gawd,(in Jebuck's name of course) to help me stop drinking, but I also "never" got an answer. I use to be a everyday drunk, even though it hardly interfered with my job; but goddamned, the hangovers I took to work with me. Somehow, after over 25 yrs. of sickness, the craving for alcohol just seemed to gradually go away, no thanks, too no God. Anyway, congratulations too YOU. PEACE, Roger

Anonymous said...

Hey Boomslang,

Can you please elaborate on this statement?

Atheism" is not a proclamation that "GOD DOES NOT EXIST!!"; it's not a manifesto that there is no god. Again, it is merely the lack of belief that God/gods exist. In other words, one can still lack absolute knowledge concerning the existence of something, and either believe, or not believe, that the existence of said thing is likely. To illustrate, one can never be certain that there are not invisible pixies in their closet. In that sense, one must be "Agnostic"(lack of knowledge) But at the same time, one can still conclude that it's not bloody likely that there are pixies in their closet, and therefore, rightfully lack belief. No "presuppositions" needed.

...not meaning to be contentious but this seems like doublespeak to me. If you "rightfully" lack belief doesn't if follow that it would be right to proclaim that there is no God? I don't see the difference.

If atheism is simply a "belief" that there is no god then I don't see how this is qualitatively different fron agnosticism.

...looking for some more education on this subject.

Anonymous said...

fiell,
God doesn't accuse. Revelation 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethern is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

Satan is the accuser. God made everything wonderful. Sin entered into the world with Adam. Some people say Eve but they are wrong. Eve was decieved. If Adam had chosen to break the curse she had bound herself to they wouldn't have gotten kicked out of the garden.

Yes, it's true. We have all fallen short of the glory of God. He does want us to be free of that by accepting his perfect sacrifice. I broke the majority of the ten commandments before accepting Christ. I'm sure everyone has told a lie.

Sin hurts people. It hurts to sin and it hurts to be sinned against. God doesn't want anybody to hurt.

Dano,
Because Jesus was there helping to create everything and is God and is sinless he is more important. Could you live a perfect life before God and be sacrificed to pay for the sins of the world? I couldn't.

If you don't believe there is sin in the world take a hard look around you.

Dear seo,
God doesn't expect people to beg. Actually his word says to come boldly before his throne of grace and mercy.

Hebrews 4:16 Let'stherefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

I haven't read their testimonies. I stumbled upon this blog.I'm sorry that they didn't feel like they found God.

God hasn't answered every one of my prayers the way I wanted. when I asked him to reveal himself to me, he did. That didn't mean a circumstance changed or anything. It ment here I am to help you through this.

If I said "God if you're real, do this" he may not reveal himself. We pray that God's will is done not our own. He is God. There are some things that we know are God's will and so we pray for them. Never as a means to require proof though. Faith is required to please God.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved by faith;and that not of yourselves;it is the gift of God:9 Not of works,lest any man should boast.

That is why the enemies first offense is to place doubt. Sometimes our ears are deaf to God for other reasons. I don't know these testimonies. I only know my own.

God has written a bunch of love letters to us all. Even if you can't hear the still voice inside, you can read about how much God loves you.

John 3:16-21
For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son,that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

For God sent not his son to condenm the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten son of God.

And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light lest his deeds should be reproved.

But he that doeth truth come into the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

I tried to read the testimonies you taked about, but I couldn't find them. Can you tell me where they are?

Anonymous said...

His Child - why exactly are you using the christian bible to support your position? Is it that you think we have some sort of respect for it? Curious... -Wes.

Anonymous said...

Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17

I love God. I was so sad when I didn't have a relationship with him.

One day I was sitting in church and there were some visitors. They went up to the front of the church for prayers.

God filled me with this knowing about the man. Something happened to him. A christian hurt him, sinned against him. It got him out of fellowship with God and the church. God let me feel his sadness. God's sadness, not the man's.

I couldn't stop crying. God saw what happened to the man and he was so grieved. He wanted the man to know he saw. He saw and He knew. He loved the man and he wanted him to know that it wasn't right what happened.

The guest speaker called me out and asked why I was crying. I told him that God just really missed the man.

I saw God's heart for those who have been wronged in the church and have left. Christians aren't perfect but God is. He isn't a respecter of persons. That means he doesn't value one over another.

He wants us all in relationship with Him. I just wanted to share that He loves us and is faithful to watch over his word. He loves people that have never known him just as much as he does those who knew him and lost their faith.

If a person does not hear the word of God they have no ability to have faith. That's why I quote the Bible.

boomSLANG said...

Mike: Can you please elaborate on this[the following] statement?

I'll do my best. Here's the statement in question:

" 'Atheism' is not a proclamation that 'GOD DOES NOT EXIST!!'; it's not a manifesto that there is no god. Again, it is merely the lack of belief that God/gods exist. In other words, one can still lack absolute knowledge concerning the existence of something, and either believe, or not believe, that the existence of said thing is likely. To illustrate, one can never be certain that there are not invisible pixies in their closet. In that sense, one must be 'Agnostic'(lack of knowledge) But at the same time, one can still conclude that it's not bloody likely that there are pixies in their closet, and therefore, rightfully lack belief. No 'presuppositions' needed."

Mike: ...not meaning to be contentious but this seems like doublespeak to me. If you "rightfully" lack belief doesn't if follow that it would be right to proclaim that there is no God? I don't see the difference.

No, it wouldn't technically be right for me to proclaim my non-belief in God/gods as absolute fact, simply because it cannot be known absolutely if a "God" exists, or does not exist. On the other hand, there are certain concepts that, by definition, cannot logically exist..e.g.."square circles", "married bachelors", etc. In this sense, yes, we can have certainty of their non-existence. But that's another discussion.

But back to "God"---there is no objective definition of "God", hence, it remains an untestable/unfalsifiable hypothesis. To the best of my recollection, this lack of knowledge falls under "Agnosticism". While I/we are Agnostic by default concerning the existence of "God", again, at the same time, I simply do not believe that the existence of such a "being" is likely, hence, why I don't have a belief in God/gods(Atheism).

Mike: If atheism is simply a "belief" that there is no god then I don't see how this is qualitatively different fron agnosticism.

I hopefully just illustrated how Atheism and Agnosticism; "belief and knowledge", are quite different from one another. In conclusion: There are Agnostic believers; there are Agnostic non-believers.

If you, or any of the regulars, feel I'm off base here, feel free to speak right up, because I most definitely don't won't to sit here and defend my errors in perpetuity, if you get my drift.

Best regards, boom'.

Anonymous said...

>>Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17

So, you are basically saying that a person cannot have faith unless that person can somehow just *accept* that the bible is the 'word of god'? That makes zero sense.. ...could you please go ahead and instruct me how to 'just believe' something without any real reason to?


Anyway, you have not offered any support to your claim that the bible is the word of any god whatsoever. It only appears that you are attempting to use your emotional experiences as some kind of 'evidence' to hopefully make me see things your way. I'm sorry - your experience is just that: Your Experience. And, unfortunately, a personal experience like this is not evidence in support of anything, especially when considering the validity of integral parts of a religion (like the bible). Experiences like yours - differing little from the experiences of countless of thousands of others - have all been used to justify belief systems all throughout the ages, just like you are doing. So, what exactly is so special about yours? Yes, I understand that it may be 'proof' to you, but realistically it would hardly be worth consideration by others whom you may be trying to allign to your way of thinking. Again, I am asking for some indisputable proof that your holy handbook has been written/inspired by a god- any god for that matter.

>>If a person does not hear the word of God they have no ability to have faith. That's why I quote the Bible.

That's an absurd statement. I'd like you to post that statement on a Muslim blog and then come back here and post a link to it, okay? -Wes.

Anonymous said...

Child wrote:
"Dano,
Because Jesus was there helping to create everything and is God and is sinless he is more important. Could you live a perfect life before God and be sacrificed to pay for the sins of the world? I couldn't."

Dan helps another Christian youth learn to think:

You could if you were God.

It would be no big thing, to sacrifice yourself to yourself, if you were God, and knew it was all just a big charade!

Dan, Agnostic

fjell said...

HC said: If a person does not hear the word of God they have no ability to have faith. That's why I quote the Bible.

Wow, pity those billions of people who are going to roast in hell just because they never came into contact with a certain book, or who were born before it was written.

What a shame.

fjell

TheJaytheist said...

HC,

You can find my testimony by going to the testamonials page and clicking on the testamonials archive button, it's in the 6-07 list.

Now if you do read it be sure that it's just a simple condensed version of all that I went through. It doesn't tell everything about how much faith I had grown into and how that effected my "walk". It doesn't go into all the prayers I prayed in that year long struggle.(there were many and all were biblically relevant) But you can rest assured that I did all I could to "seek the blessings of god and his wisdom". I risked my very mind. I got nothing back.

You can tell me that you don't believe me or my story, but then that would be calling me a liar. The demon called doubt would be indwelling in you as well as the demon called unbelief. :)

You could try to argue that god really did answer my prayers but that would be a monumental mistake on your part. Because then you'd have to explain why god would push me away from him to give me what I needed.(and what I needed was to be closer to him, right)

So what this all boils down to is you not believing my experiences because they don't back up your beliefs. If you do believe me and still think you have found the one universal truth then you contradict yourself. The best you can do to hold your belief to be true is claim that I wasn't predestined(sp?) for "glory".(which causes more problems for you)

So instead of going through the hassel, how about showing us some evidence that you have, indeed, found the one universal truth. It would, obviously, have to be good credible evidence.

Thanks-SN

Anonymous said...

Dear Stronger Now,
Thank you for the priveledge of allowing me to read your testimony. I am not an insensitive person, nor am I naive about the pain that this world has to offer. It is very easy to come across as both of those things. You probably don't really care about my opinion as you exhausted every resource you knew of before giving up.

However I am motivated to share..

I gave up on God once. I have a past with sexual abuse. What happened to you was not God's will for you. I believe there is a certain degree of abuse you recieved as far as instruction on how sin is handled.

I do not know everything. I am not a pastor. I am still a sinner standing in God's grace. I do read my Bible and I have had what I feel is good teaching. I'm not talking about cherry picked Bible verses taken out of context. I'm talking about teaching that appears balanced and consistant through out the Bible. At least it does to me...

Your brother sinned against you. Yes, God wants us to forgive but he is also a God of Justice. Somebody may have sinned against your brother in the same way. Many times when a person is sinned against it creates a doorpoint of trauma.

When I was raped the first time at 17, I forgot about it. It was traumatic. I became very "active". I jumped into intimate relationships without any emotional intimacy and with a lot of really scary people. Something in me was searching.

When I was raped a spirit of victimization attached itself to me. It was looking for a victimizer spirit to defile me and the person that was in agreement with victimizing. Three years later it happened again.

I remembered it all at once. I had two rapes and an abortion to deal with at the same time. The second rape had resulted in a pregnancy. I wanted to kill myself believe me.

That following year I meet my birth mother. I was adopted at 4 days old. She was a christian and prayed and talked to me about God a lot. I hated it, but I wanted to know her so I listened.

God pursued and pursued. Things in the Bible that I had misunderstood and had taken offense at were revealed and set right. I discovered that I had been blinded in a lot of areas.

You didn't have to cover your brothers sin against you. That was not what God required. I made the same choice. I was raised in the church. I thought that that was what was required of me too.

The man who raped me the second time was later convicted of running a prostitution ring of underaged girls. If I had held him accountable I may have prevented that.

God always forgave people even in the old testiment upon repentance. Yes, we are required to forgive unrepentant sinners. However, it is also our responsibility to hold unrepentant sinners accountable.

Sometimes we cover sin and sometimes we don't. Sexual abuse of a child is not the kind of thing that should ever have been ignored. I don't know if adults knew. I was guessing no. There were molestations that happened to me from cousins that were also never adressed. I never told. If you told and it was covered that sounds wrong.

The thing that really sucks is that with sexual abuse spirits of accusation, shame, victimization and self-hatred usually appear.

I have to say I still strongly feel and would assert that scripture validates that God is the answer. Not the problem. It was in the name of Jesus and by the power of the Holy Spirit that I was healed of the pain caused by all of my traumas.

I didn't even begin to tell you the extent of my past. I'm sure I don't know yours.

God heard your prayers. Your pastor in his lack of knowledge failed you. I'm truely sorry.

According to the Bible we live in a cursed and fallen world. God doesn't want anyone to perish. God wants the best for all of us. Satan is the god of this world and people choose to sin or to be set free.

James 1:17 Every good and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Now about this trying to please God stuff... When you are in Christ and God's checking up on you to see how you are doing spiritually (whether you are in sin or not)Father God just looks to his right where Jesus sits. He sees that you wear his righteousness.

The gift of salvation is free of works there is nothing needed but faith to earn it. Sin will have to be judged one day. Sin is a bodiless entity that is behind self hatred shame unforgiveness fear and the like.

God does not want people to choose to die in sin. Sin is punished for eternity because it was created to be an eternal creature. It chose to turn away from God. There will come a day when God declares the time is up for sin to affect humanity. That day has not come.

Romans 8:16 The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be glorified together.

This is just to show we are as christians judged by Christs righteousness. Persecution for being a christian is the suffering.

This is not refering to things like being molested. I don't want you to think that I'm saying there is a great glory in that. God was grieved by what happened to you.

1 John 4:17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgement; because He is so are we in this world.

I was adressing a couple of different things posted. Sorry it's so long.

Stronger now, would you consider that maybe the reason you did not kill yourself was the grace of God? God wanted you to live so he helped you to lay aside your pain and live showing love to your sister? That's my stance.

I'm really glad you moved away from you're brother. There is a difference between trust and forgiveness. I have prayed for the salvation of my abusers often.

Your brother needs freedom. He was hurt when he hurt you. He may even have had moments of wanting to kill himself. What he did was part of the enemies plan to destroy him just as much as it was part of the enemies plan to destroy you.

You have to seperate him from the sin that he came into agreement with. It's the only way I could ever forgive anyone.

God loves him too. He was wrong and he did sin. In my opinion the police should have been involved when you were a child. No condemnation there, the shame that belongs to the victomizer attacks the victom.

I know of a couple of really great ministries that help peple heal from these types of issues. If you want the names I can pass them on.

I was taught that spiritual things affect our bodies. Doctors agree. They blame stress and anxiety for a variety of ailments. Anyhow, with sexual abuse they've done studies on body chemistry.

Many times a person who has been abused will abuse. That's because when the person is abused the body throws out the same amount of dopamine and seratonin to cope as it would in responce to snorting a line of cocaine.

The only way the body knows to get the same chemical dump is to abuse. Our spirits body and minds are as inseperable as our Triune God. We reflect the beuaty of His image. However, we have to deal with what sin screwed up.

If you feel you are bombarded with weird thoughts that make you feel like a monster don't worry. It's just the devil. God is bigger. He can help you get free. There is a scripture in Hosea that says "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge"

I am sorry for every christian who didn't know their Bible well enough to help you. I can't say I know everything, I can say God loves you and heard you. He was the one who helped you reason your way out of ending your life.

My husband would have answered your blog much quicker. He would have said. God didn't cause that to happen. The devil did!

Astreja said...

Anonymous: "Sin is punished for eternity because it was created to be an eternal creature."

Sin, a "creature"? Ooookay. That's even stranger than the usual apologia we get around here.

"Your brother needs freedom. He was hurt when he hurt you. He may even have had moments of wanting to kill himself. What he did was part of the enemies plan to destroy him just as much as it was part of the enemies plan to destroy you."

And this is extraordinarily bad advice, IMO. Blaming someone's wrongdoing on an invisible enemy is not conducive to healing.

"Yes, we are required to forgive unrepentant sinners."

Even worse advice. Forgiveness happens only at an appropriate time for each individual. For some people, that time is... Never. Putting a religious-obligation spin on it just makes it into another source of stress.

"I was taught that spiritual things affect our bodies. Doctors agree. They blame stress and anxiety for a variety of ailments."

Um... "Spiritual things" does not equate to "stress and anxiety" (except, perhaps, via such mechanisms as the placebo effect).

"The only way the body knows to get the same chemical dump is to abuse."

False. Absolutely false. Not all victims of abuse go on to become abusers.

Anonymous said...

Boomslang;

Thanks for the response...Nicely stated and explained. I got it.

fjell said...

boomSLANG said: If you, or any of the regulars, feel I'm off base here, feel free to speak right up, because I most definitely don't won't to sit here and defend my errors in perpetuity, if you get my drift.

Nah, boom, I think you quite regularly say what needs saying, and something you quipped once has even become a sort of a mantra for me:

"If Atheism is a belief, then NOT collecting baseball cards is a hobby."

Anonymous said...

Is it any wonder that our great country that was intended to have separation of church and state, now has the government telling people what they can and can not do with their own bodies, what kind of scientific research we can do, but is funding faith based charities, has an air head president, and has people demanding that religion be taught in science classes, with so many of these totally lame Anonymous's running around, spouting this drivel?

Anonymous said...

I didn't say all victoms of abuse become abusers. I said it happens often. I was abused. I am not an abuser. I did use drugs pretty heavily as a fix. Different people turn to different things.

According to the bible anxiety is a sin. It is a lack of peace which is sin. It falls short of God's plan for his children.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given a spirit of fear; but of power and of love and of a sound mind.


It is a disembodied spirit. Disembodied spirits trick people into thiking thay are bad people because they have bad thoughts. The bad thoughts don't belong to the person having them unless the person thinks the thoughts are right and takes them as their own.


The reason we forgive is because we are forgiven. Harboring bitterness is like swallowing poison and waiting for the other person to die. The Bible says bitterness is like a cancer. I have seen God heal people of cancer as soon as they forgave.

Stronger Now,
I prayed for you last night. God is tender and patient towards you.
He said that you have been through a lot. He said you didn't hear him because you were mad. He called you his son. He is helping you. You are going to get through this. Don't give up. His will is to see you healed.

I have prayed against torment, self hatred and self-murder. I have prayed for impulse control. God doesn't want you to hurt yourself.

I have prayed that you will see God according to truth and that you will feel his love for you. I declare that you will have peace fall on you in ways that you have yet to experience. I speak that you will live and not die.

I am not coming back here for a week because I have children. They need a mommy who isn't on the internet. I am going to continue to pray for you.

You may have walked away from God brother, He has not walked away from you. He is pursuing you in ways that I don't even understand. Be Free. In Jesus name

Oh yeah Boomslang, People are responsible for coming into agreement with sin. That's why I said the cops should have been called. That's why we do our best not to sin. That is why God judges people. People choose.

Some are decieved into thinking they have sinned before they have sinned and then they do sin cause they already think they have. It's like they give up before they even did anything wrong.

SN's brother was definately responsible for what he did. I was not saying that people are not to be held accountable for their actions.

I do not judge. I can not claim to know what forces that he was up against when he sinned. He fell short. We all do. That's why we need Jesus.

Forgiveness is a process that does have an order it is a choice. It means being free enough to ask God to help the person to be free who hurt you. It is the freedom to bless and not curse. I believe that in the case of crimes like abuse we turn the offender in and then bless him.

I am honored that you read my post and thought about what I said. Thank you

The more we get involved in sin the more distant God's voice is. If he appears silent, question what needs to be removed from your life to help you hear better.

Are you walking in love towards God, yourself and others? What are you thinking on?

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brethern, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Astreja said...

His Child: "I didn't say all victims of abuse become abusers. I said it happens often."

Assuming that you and Anonymous are the same person, this is what I responded to:

"Many times a person who has been abused will abuse. That's because when the person is abused the body throws out the same amount of dopamine and seratonin to cope as it would in responce to snorting a line of cocaine. The only way the body knows to get the same chemical dump is to abuse."

'Only way' and 'many times' are contradictory statements. I consider the bolded statement to be hyperbole, as there *are* other ways to get that 'chemical dump'. I have no quarrel with the beginning of the statement, as it's fairly well established that many abuse survivors do go on to abuse others.

"According to the bible anxiety is a sin."

Ah, blaming the victim. Another example of the Bible's lack of credibility as a guide to life.

"It is a disembodied spirit. Disembodied spirits trick people into thiking thay are bad people because they have bad thoughts."

Okay, that's just plain ridiculous.

"The bad thoughts don't belong to the person having them unless the person thinks the thoughts are right and takes them as their own."

And that is just plain insane. Literally. Are you saying that an individual with a psychosis 'owns' his or her delusions or obsessions, while a person who can seriously entertain destructive thoughts but later puts them aside is somehow less responsible? Sounds backwards to me.

"The reason we forgive is because we are forgiven."

I doubt this very much. Forgiveness is a psychological process, not a religious one.

"I have seen God heal people of cancer as soon as they forgave."

No, what you probably saw was spontaneous remission (rather common, actually) in a time of reduced stress.

Anonymous said...

Anon (His Child) Said:
"I've heard Gods voice many times in many ways it is a still quiet voice most often so you have to be still inside to hear it"
--
HC,

"Still inside" in order to hear your god's voice?

Oh, you must mean like when one is asleep and DREAMING about hearing god's voice, while one's brain freezes the body 'STILL'.
This would surely explain where those little voices you hear are coming from.

Ya know HC, not for nothing, but why can't your *powerful* god just turn up his voice volume so we don't have to lay so 'still' in order to hear his whisper quite voice?
Perhaps he has had laryngitis for the past few thousand years or so?
Poor thing!!
A little holy oil rubbed on his neck, should fix that condition fast.


"The devil. No he does not wear a red suit. He was an angel who decided he wanted to rule heaven. He was the most beautiful angel God created"

So what you're saying HC is that your god first screwed up making the devil and his HUGE band of demons imperfect and rebellious, and did so well at this creation (not) that he decided to give it another go with a couple humans called adam and eve, just for what, grins?

Funny how the devil isn't really mentioned as the big bad guy in the bible, that is, until jebus came along and exposed him as such.
Why wouldn't such an important evil figure have lots of mention in the OT, but instead barely gets any 'PR' at all?
Yeah, I'm sure you think he was the snake in genesis, but really, where does it say in the OT that it was this devil angel you speak of?

"Don't take that personally, they have assignments against us all. They are supposed to keep non- believers from believing"

And which god handed these assignments to these rebellious angels?
They sure have no reason to listen to your god, and frankly, why would the devil hand out such orders to his fellow demons.
Is there some god imposed quota written in stone tablets, that says if the devil turns X amount of humans away from god, that god will let them all not only live, but reap vast rewards as well?
If not, then why would these bad angels go through all this time and effort to SECRETLY turn us all away from the 'other god' of the bible....YOURS.

"Remember the old cartoons with an angel on one side and the devil on the other? It's kindof like that. When you have thoughts like "I'll never forgive him for that" or "I hate her she's so.." that is the enemy of your soul whispering in your ear looking to help destroy your peace."

So you're saying there are enough bad and good angels around, such that each living human gets one for each ear we have?
WOW, that's a LOT of angels then.
Where do these angels go when we are sleeping....back to heaven and hell, for some kind of break-time from work?
Do the good and bad angels sometimes switch which ears they speak into, just to confuse our minds about which is on which side of us?

"He stayed on eath for a while appearing all over the world before his accension. You can find accounts of his appearance in many different cultures including native American"

Really?
Can you produce said documents, because it seems these other cultures missed out and 'didn't get the memo' of his travels across the FLAT earth he viewed from the mountain top.

"When I had a familiar Spirit in me it was hard to touch the Bible it made me want to throw up. The devil fights hard to keep people from God. It's his job"

It's his job?
And who exactly gave the devil this no-pay job?
God?
If he hates god so much, then why would he take such a job from your god.

Can you please explain to me where in the bible it tells us all the reasons that this so called devil had for rebelling against your god?
Obvioulsy the devil and god didn't see eye to eye about a few things, but what things were those, pray tell?

Obviously HC, you failed to offer ANY proof of your god, just like no xtain here has yet done, but perhaps you can be the very first to prove to me that this devil creature is roaming around the earth tempting us humans with his ideas?
No, the bible does NOT count as proof of the devil, so you'll have to find some other means to prove he exists here on earth to us.

Come to think of it....all you have to do is wait till Halloween this month and I'm sure you'll have plenty of devils to point to for proof on that day.
Oops, I guess those devils might not count, because they would have red suits and pitchforks.

I'm just wondering HC, do you believe in me?
Me, being the tooth fairy that is.
Yes, I really am the "great and wonderful" OZ...oops, I mean tooth fairy.

What, you don't believe me.....think about WHY YOU DON'T then and you might have a clue as to why I don't believe in your god or devil.


ATF

Anonymous said...

boomSLANG: "If you, or any of the regulars, feel I'm off base here, feel free to speak right up, because I most definitely don't won't to sit here and defend my errors in perpetuity, if you get my drift."

Hey BoomSLANG, been running around a lot lately, but here is my take on the matter at hand.

I do not accept a persons' position, unless they are knowledgeable about the position they are proffering. For instance, a baby muttering the word God does not make a baby a theist.

This extends to those who are popping out proposition after proposition, in order to see if their pseudo-position holds water.

When one says they are "x", I expect they understand, acknowledge, and are able to "defend" their position on the basis of epistemology. Therefore, I consider "all" positions to be defined on the premise of knowledge.

If a person can not establish their position and defend it, then they really don't "understand" the nature of the word they are using to "describe" themselves. In short, a word "identifies" the "particular nature" of some-thing, or some-person. If a person does not understand the underlying epistemological formulations of a philosophical stance, then they really can't honestly be identified by the word they use to describe themselves. The "use" of the word they use to describe themselves, says more about their state of "knowledge" and "education", than it says about their position as defined by their "particular cognitive nature/being".

When a person says they are "x", I expect their daily activities (and language) to reflect the position they suggest they hold... as, if their words say one thing and their actions another, either they lack the conviction of their words, or they lack the understanding to apply their position to Reality. In either case, a contradiction arises, and one's position becomes arbitrary - and meaningless.

So, yes, knowledge does underscore the concept of agnosticism as I understand it, but it underscores all positions as well... at least on the level I am willing to "identify" a person, based on a particular word that prescribes a defined intellectual position.

So, on the level of cognitive coherence, and whereby a person is "true" to the epistemological foundations of their position, based upon the actions they take in life without conflict... let me offer what I understand on the positions of theism and atheism, and further agnosticism - based on epistemology alone, but first an example based on deontology, on how one may attempt to arrive at theism...

Theism; volitional valuation of some-thing greater than the self, and assigned the name God as an identifier of that some-thing.

I bring this up, because there are some that would argue that epistemology is not the "only" source to support one's position... However, I disagree, epistemology and understanding what "knowledge" is, and what one can "know" must precede deontology (and all other philosophical supports for a position), because to make a moral/ethical statement, assumes one "knows" some-thing, and is able to articulate such, in a lucid and meaningful manner.

So, here we go with epistemology as the precursor to the other areas of philosophy...

Theism; accepts theological first principles, chiefly, ones regarding a cosmological creator.

Agnosticism; "The doctrine that certainty about first principles or absolute truth is unattainable and that only perceptual phenomena are objects of exact knowledge."
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/agnosticism

Now, I perceive two major categories, theism and atheism, where atheism is best understood as the non-inclusion of theologically founded first principles.

This means, agnosticism is a form or sub-category of atheism, since it does not accept "any" first principles, not only of the theological type, but of "any" type.

So... a person suggesting they are agnostic while proffering a first principle of let's say... prime mover of the universe, is... really not agnostic in the true sense of the meaning.

An agnostic, holds the position that exact knowledge is only limited to one's immediate presence, based on experience. That means, while some may suggest that it is undeniable that they existed ten minutes ago, that it can't be proven with absolute "certainty". Therefore, one's confidence/certainty backed by knowledge has an extremely small foot-print or shelf-life.

The discussion of the fall-out of denying first principles could go on for a while... "Existence exists", is necessary to accept in order to create a non-contradictory philosophy, it can't be denied by the agnostic in the immediate "present" with the most "exact" knowledge, without creating an immediate "conflict" with Existence's existence... one must reside in Existence, in order to argue that it is "not" a first principle.

As well, first principles are what found knowledge, it is how one builds their knowledge base, using inference, etc. Without certain first principles, like "Law of Identity", where a "rake" is defined exactly by its function or what it does, one could never write a cogent sentence that held reliable meaning between themselves and others, and even for oneself if they were to refer back to a statement they wrote in the past if words weren't able to be afforded particular meaning assignments by which ideas/objects could be identified.

So, agnosticism is a particular position taken, in "regards" to "knowledge", as well as theism and other forms of atheism.

Other categories of atheism, besides agnosticism, can hold as many first principles as one wants, and perhaps, some are based on "presupposition" and others, are more "grounded" to Reality. It is even likely some may hold contradictory first principles, or first principles that conflict between themselves. This isn't "just" limited to atheism, but to theism as well.

So, for me... and specifically in the context of "knowledge" or "epistemology"... I perceive the following.

-----------------------------------

Theism Category:
Type Implicit:
-Doesn't exist. By definition, a theist is one who "believes", which requires the volitional act/acceptance of that which is proffered to them.

Type Explicit:
-Basic Theism = First principle acceptance, establishes the term/validation for the word God...

-Theism(+) = First principle "plus" additional first principles, like theodicy (Good/evil)... or secondary principles... Jesus' salvation 'because' of original sin, etc.

---------------------------

Atheism Category:
Type Implicit:
-Atheism = Nature implied atheism via ignorance/lack of belief, as in an infant.

Type Explicit:
-Agnosticism = Explicit and volitional denial of "all" first principles.

-Basic Atheism = Acceptance of at least one first principle, excluding the one of basic theism.

-Atheism(+) = Acceptance of multiple first principles, excluding the one of basic theism.

----------------------------------

Now, the discussion of first principles comes down to how one defines "knowledge", and sets the parameters of their "first principles"...

Some considerations; knowledge that is indefeasible/defeasible, universally objective/individually subjective, absolute/relative, changing/unchanging...

The strategy one employs to create their first principles and their parameters, determines the flexibility, and reliability of the knowledge that can be created using such a foundation.

Well, this was longer than anticipated, but... wanted to give you an honest perspective. Some of the leading philosophers of the day suggest that the last interesting question left for philosophy, is... based on knowledge and the limits of the human intellect.

Have a great one - Peace

Anonymous said...

His child,
Would you please read Dave8's post and give us your take on it?

I absolutely love the picture, of what's going around in your head, that you have shared with us.

What denomination are you? What church do you attend?

Just curious!

Anonymous said...

Hey Dano :-) Don't encourage HC, some people just need to take deep breathes and think good thoughts, and take comfort in their nice comfortable room, that are fully adorned with mattresses strapped on the walls ;-) Take care

boomSLANG said...

Somewhere--possibly on another thread---this dip-shit known as "His Child" had the nerve to say that "anxiety is sin"[paraphrased from memory]

My apologies in advance to the regulars, but sometimes this shit just puts me over the edge, where frankly, I don't feel the need to be diplomatic, or cordial, or any of that happy horse-shit. One of those times is now.

His Child?....if you're there, listen, and listen good: When I was a devout believer, I spent 24/7, minus sleep, 'walking on eggshells' in fear of falling short of "God's Glory". The unceasing uncertainty of NOT knowing if I measured up, was what caused me "anxiety". ANYTHING--- from looking at young lady with a dress on and finder her legs easy on my eyes---to screening a phone call to avoid a solicitor; to hitting my thumb with a hammer and saying "SH#T!!"; to saying I don't have time to do that for you right now, when it's really because I'm too tired, etc, etc,..ALL of it, centered around guilt and fear.... FEAR, FEAR, FEAR, FEAR, FEAR, FEAR, FEAR!!!!!!!!! The FEAR of being incinerated in a lake of fire for being a human being. And again, this is WHEN I believed.

For anyone who has of an understanding about what anxiety is all about, you know it's the uncertainty of the matter, not the matter itself. And it doesn't help when you can't monitor your progress, and instead, get complete silence in return(prayers blantantly ignored)...i.e..you'll just have to WAIT, basically your whole life, just to find out if you've made the grade in the eyes of "His Holiness."

YOU go to hell

boomSLANG said...

Hi D8! = )

Yeah, I checked out your post. Very insightful. Thanks.

Peace.

Anonymous said...

.......

*Shakes head*

Sorry, I didn't convey my points as clearly as I could have... But, perhaps I can better illustrate one of the questions with an example...

Christians claim the authority of the Bible, whereas atheists claim the authority of human reason.

Now, as everyone here has surely seen, Christians are obligated to denounce atheism as a lie. Why? Because it contradicts the Bible, and therefore is wicked, sinful, and other pompous synonyms for bad. Still with me, here?

Conversely, atheists hold religion to be irrational. Why? Because it contradicts reason, and the atheist gives reason priority.

Put bluntly, how is atheism any more objectively valid than religion? No cheating, now...

to alan a: Sorry if I came off as a rabid Fundie in my post; I didn't mean to offend anyone, and sincerely apologize if I did. I was (and still am) under a great deal of stress...

Anonymous said...

Chris A. wrote:.......
"Conversely, atheists hold religion to be irrational. Why? Because it contradicts reason, and the atheist gives reason priority.
Put bluntly, how is atheism any more objectively valid than religion? No cheating, now..."

Simple!
Atheists say they don't believe in God because there is no evidence of one.

They say religious people who believe without evidence are by definition, Irrational.

"Now, as everyone here has surely seen, Christians are obligated to denounce atheism as a lie. Why? Because it contradicts the Bible, and therefore is wicked, sinful, and other pompous synonyms for bad. Still with me, here?"

The Bible is not evidence, it is just a poorly written book of mythology (by today's standards)

It basically proves nothing!

webmdave said...

"Christians claim the authority of the Bible, whereas atheists claim the authority of human reason."

Everyone claims the authority of human reason. Human reason is the only way we have of making any decisions or claims whatsoever. What atheists claim is that Christians are not reasoning logically by using the scientific method to determine if their religious claims are valid or not. What Christians claim is that emotional feelings, mystical personal experiences and some nebulous concept called "faith" are all perfectly "reasonable" justifications for claiming the truth of Christianity.

Anonymous said...

to the Webmaster: The point that I was trying to raise is that atheism, like religion, rests on unprovable assumptions. So, how is one any better than the other? How can we choose?

Saying that "everyone claims the authority of reason" is the same circular logic that Christians are always pestering you with. You're assuming that reason can be used to test the truth of the Christian's claims. Conversely, the Christians assume that human reason should only carry weight in mundane matters. Now, how do we decide who's right?

I'm honestly not trying to irritate anyone, despite what it might sound like, and I apologize if any of you are getting sick of me by now...

webmdave said...

Chris, to me, your question revolves around the method a person uses to interpret reality. Should we use the scientific method to understand our world, or should we use mystical, magical imaginings, or is there some other method that would be more accurate? It’s not about human reason versus something else. All we have is human reason.

For generations, people reasoned that gods threw thunderbolts, caused earthquakes, plagues, drought, rain, good and bad harvests, volcanic eruptions, falling stars, comets, disease, cures, insanity… The list is nearly endless. Now, with the advancement of science, we realize that all those superstitious explanations for things were ridiculous. As real knowledge has increased, mystical gods and goddess have retreated. Superstitious persist only where human ignorance remains. We don’t know everything, but we want an explanation right now. “I don’t know” is an answer most people are uncomfortable accepting.

Everyone on the planet uses human reason to reason. Without a physical human brain, there is no way to reason. Christians “reason” that claiming reality is dictated by the whims of invisible, immaterial, entities, somehow makes sense. There is no evidence that such creatures exist. There is no experimental way to test the validity of any religion’s paranormal claims. Still, Christians and other religionists dogmatically assert – without any evidence – that their superstitious reality is “real.”

Using the Christian method of “reason,” a person can equally assert that Islam is the one true religion, that UFOs planted humans on earth, that ghosts hang around cemeteries, that extra-dimensional spirits communicate with the living, that levitation really happens, or that any other fantastic bit of fantasy is a real part of reality.

I reject Christianity because the evidence supporting its claims is severely lacking. I reject other mystical blatherings for the same reason: no testable evidence supporting them.

There is only one way to interpret reality: using the brain. If a person’s brain is not functioning properly, there is no way for that person to determine anything. To say that human reason is insufficient to the task of figuring things out, is to say that nothing can ever be figured out, because all we have is human reasoning. There are no gods coming down from the sky to do our reasoning for us.

Finally, the Christian is making a positive claim. The Christian is claiming that Bible-God exists and has revealed Himself through a special book. The unbeliever is asking for evidence to support that claim. If no evidence is presented, then it is reasonable to reject the claim as fantasy. I am sure that you, Chris, reject the claims of Islamics without batting an eye. When you figure out why you so easily reject Islamic claims, you may begin to understand why people reject Christian claims.

Anonymous said...

Chris A.: "to the Webmaster: The point that I was trying to raise is that atheism, like religion, rests on unprovable assumptions. So, how is one any better than the other? How can we choose?"

Chris, I would get a head-ache if I were to sit down for any length of time and ponder on how I would break out the different ways a person could conceivable land in an "explicit" position, in either theism or atheism categories. There is an extremely "broad" diversity of paths that could lead a person to finally rest in a category.

However, not wanting to get too involved, I will give two separate simplistic examples of how a person can come to a theist and atheist position.

Theist; accepts a "proposition" (God exists), without understanding what "God" actually means, or how to validate such a "word". It is a position that stands as a perpetual hypothetical proposition. Such a position can never be "validated", by the religions I understand.

However, let’s go with someone worshipping the sun as their God... Okay, they can offer proof that the sun exists, it's called observational reliability and validation. The conversation would move from an "epistemological" discussion, on how a person is able to establish what "knowledge" is, and give an "identity" to the word God - to a discussion on lets say why there is a distinction between the word "God" and the word "Sun"...

There is a "reason" people call "some-thing" God, once that is understood, then we can in an "objective" manner, either agree or disagree on "why" one should use one word over another.

Let me stop here, and suggest, I have yet to hear a religious person on this site, say, that they worship the "True" Sun, of God.

However, I have seen countless examples of Christians, who can't seem to proffer the proper "context" of what a "God" is, and give the word God any more "meaning" than a semantic one. A word that is totally "arbitrary" without any "context".

I really don't accept a person as a Christian, until they understand the "context" of the words they use to support their belief/position. You can't "believe" anything you can't understand... if someone says they "believe" in God, and have no clue as to the context of the word, then they don't have a clue as to what they "believe", you can’t “believe” what you “don’t” understand. A person is suggesting their position, because they believe in the "person" who suggested that the word God had meaning - without giving them any "context" in Reality.

Now, I can suggest I am explicitly "not" one who accepts a theologically founded first principle, because of the manner in which I define knowledge, and establish the principles of truth by which I further develop knowledge.

For example, I "exist", are you going to tell me I must "assume" this? No. I do not assume to "exist", it is not up for "debate", the proof is that you are reading my post... you can "reject" the objective reality that "shows" you my post, but you are in "denial" of Reality if you do such. No matter what you actually believe about me existing, it doesn’t remove the “fact” that I exist – just an example.

If I started building "knowledge" based on those things I "knew" were obvious "facts", then how would I ever come to rest on "assumptions"?

Now, this is extremely simplistic, because there are many ways a group of people could start out with a common set of first principles that can't be denied, and end up extending what they consider "knowledge" into areas, I would consider – theoretical or "propositional".

--------------

And... focusing on your statement, and trying to get a point of view where it makes sense, I can only come up with a few ways that your post makes sense… One is to suggest that the only way for the atheist to be as presumptive as the theist, is for the atheist to base their position as a "response" to the theist.

So, yes, if an atheist is taking a position in response to a theist to proclaim the non-existence of a God/s, then, sure... they are guilty by association in terms of logic, because they are both making a declaration about an assumed proposition.

:-) However... let me be clear on my position as one who does not accept a theological first principle. It's not because of the theist I hold my position...

I would consider myself someone of the category atheism, "regardless" of theism.

Now, to clear up the semantics... The "word" atheist is used as a semantic description to contrast the word "theist".

But, adding context and going beyond the mere "word" atheist, if I never knew the word existed... if there was "never" the word "theist" created... I would "still" hold my philosophy, which under no uncertain terms has an allowance for anything "beyond" my "understanding".

If I can't understand something in its proper context, I will not sugar coat the pills of ignorance and swallow.

I have stated before, and I'll say it again; I am an atheist, because of my philosophy, not because of the myriad number of theists who continue to pop out God propositions. My position is “not” in response and “dependent” upon theirs. I can't deny that I will have to "interact" with those who hold a load of undigested mental jargon, empty words, etc., but it doesn't mean they are the "icon" or "standard" by which I "live" and "think" about "my" life. To suggest such, is akin to suggesting that my “identity”, must be defined by the theist to some degree – to think that way, is actually something akin to narcissism.

In short, I belong to the category atheism, not “because” of the theist; but “regardless” of the theist. I don't append assumptions to a theists’ in order to declare my position. I am running my own thread/line of code, per se.

Anonymous said...

Chris: "Saying that "everyone claims the authority of reason" is the same circular logic that Christians are always pestering you with."

Reason: "7. Philosophy. a. the faculty or power of acquiring intellectual knowledge, either by direct understanding of first principles or by argument."
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/reason

Reasoning is a process we cognitively hold, it's not circular as in the matter of logic, it's a cognitive function. It's better understood as a "verb", not a "noun".

Chris: "You're assuming that reason can be used to test the truth of the Christian's claims."

Yep, my brain, my reasoning capability... which inevitably is going to be used to test "everything", and not just some single persons' claims.

Chris: "Conversely, the Christians assume that human reason should only carry weight in mundane matters."

A.k.a, don't use reason to analyze the really important stuff.

Chris: "Now, how do we decide who's right?"

Answer the following question honestly; "Should "reason" be employed to build consistently reliable knowledge that can be used to make effective decisions that prevent mental and physical conflict/suffering in one's life?"

Obviously, it's a choice, for those... who actually understand they have a "choice".

The fall-out for those who choose to not employ sound reasoning can have ill effects for not only the individual, but for a local community, state, nation and even planet.

It's the effects of poor reasoning (using subjective facts, instead of objective facts, etc.), or the intentional repression of reason altogether in terms of "important matters", that have many concerned.

I don't mind if a person sits at home and makes poor domestic decisions that only affect them, but... really... I don't want them teaching public education, practicing medicine, or other really "important things" that have a direct and critical effect on my quality of life.

TheJaytheist said...

Oh man! I totally missed out on HC's longwinded response to my testimony.

HC:"Yes, we are required to forgive unrepentant sinners. However, it is also our responsibility to hold unrepentant sinners accountable."

I never said my brother was unrepentant. I did forgive him. And in holding him accountable I removed him from my life.

HC:"It was in the name of Jesus and by the power of the Holy Spirit that I was healed of the pain caused by all of my traumas."

Goody for you. So explian why none of that "healing" came my way. Or am I to think that gods non-answer to my prayers was the answer? If so then why should I trust a god that has shown he cannot be trusted?

HC:"God heard your prayers. Your pastor in his lack of knowledge failed you."

Excuse me? What does a pastor have to do with whether or not god answered my prayers? It was god that failed to answer my prayers you dolt!

HC:"God does not want people to choose to die in sin."

Then why didn't he answer my prayers? I gave him every opportunity. I was his. If he would have answered my prayers I'd still be his. What is it that you can't understand about that?

HC:" God was grieved by what happened to you."

Well he has a stupid way of showing it sister!

HC:" God wanted you to live so he helped you to lay aside your pain and live showing love to your sister? That's my stance."

God need not be involved to explain why I showed love for my sister. If that's your stance then it's weak. Very weak.

HC:"You have to seperate him from the sin that he came into agreement with. It's the only way I could ever forgive anyone. "

I don't have to do anything I don't feel like doing. I don't care how YOU forgave anyone. I did what I had to do to be free of the stupidity of religion and the oppression of family among other things.

HC:"I'm really glad you moved away from you're brother. There is a difference between trust and forgiveness."

My testimony isn't about wheather or not I trust my brother. It really wasn't about my relationship with my brother at all. It was about my relationship with god and my trusting in him to answer my prayers.

HC:" Your brother needs freedom. He was hurt when he hurt you."

I don't give a flying fuck about my brothers needs or hurts. And you wanna know why? Because he dosn't give a flying fuck about me and my needs. Same with god. GOT IT!

HC:"I know of a couple of really great ministries that help peple heal from these types of issues. If you want the names I can pass them on."

I'm doing fine now that I realize that god is just the imaginary friend of irrational people. I don't need to be reindoctrinated into your cult, thanks.

HC:"Many times a person who has been abused will abuse."

AND:"If you feel you are bombarded with weird thoughts that make you feel like a monster don't worry."

Are you implying that I may be having sexually abusive thoughts?

That's not it at all. I simply think about sliceing abusers to ribbons and/or blowing their heads off. What's so wierd about that?

Rest assured I'd do the same to my brother if I found out he was abusing anyone(which I highly doubt and I have my ways of keeping tabs on him) and he knows it. I am not a vigilante, but I will take the responsibility for my not telling, and do what needs done. As usual. I will also take resposibility for that. I'm a big boy, I can take it.

HC:"I am sorry for every christian who didn't know their Bible well enough to help you."

It wasn't the resposibility of other christians to help me. It was gods. He failed. He failed because he dosn't exist.

HC:"He was the one who helped you reason your way out of ending your life."

No that was me who reasoned myself out of ending my life. God had nothing to do with that as he had nothing to do with keeping me sane. I did that too. All that I needed I found in myself. It was my ability to reason that led to my eventual atheism.

Your god is an imaginary friend. I have no use for such things. If I cannot trust god with the small things(answering prayers/my sanity), then why should I trust it with the big things(the rest of my life/eternity)?

You can believe whatever you wish. But if you want to convice me you'll need some evidence, as I said before. Have you got any?

Anonymous said...

To the Webmaster and dave8: Well. I sincerely thank the both of you for giving my question such in-depth answers!

However, I'm still of the firm opinion that the authority of reason is an assumption, and moreover one that cannot be argued for. I mean no offense, but both of you continuously reassert that we can and should rely on logic, yet you admittedly can't prove it.

It seems that I'm just going to have to make a choice, here. Either I assume the authority of logic, or I assume the authority of a religion... I should probably choose soon; I'm worrying myself into an early grave...

That "Pascal's Wager" line of reasoning has been bothering me again, as well...

When it first occurred, around the time I sent in this post, Ricky's response really eased my troubled mind. I'd honestly never considered the possibility of there being a god who'd send the religious to hell... The idea showed me that because we can't know what the afterlife might hold, the Christians aren't as safe as they'd like to imagine.

But, since early yesterday evening, I've been worrying once more that maybe the Christians are safer than the atheists... I spent most of my spare time today crunching the numbers to see if it was true...

You know, if I'm wearing out my welcome with this whining, I'd appeciate it if someone told me.

Anonymous said...

Chris: "However, I'm still of the firm opinion that the authority of reason is an assumption, and moreover one that cannot be argued for. I mean no offense, but both of you continuously reassert that we can and should rely on logic, yet you admittedly can't prove it."

Hmmmm, is that so. Well, can you make a case to "not" use logic, while you communicate logically to me? It's not the "case" that you "must" argue for logic, it's the "case" that you are "using" it to make your case.

The only manner in which you can not employ or "validate" the authority of "logic"... :-)... is for you not to make another comment.

If you "do" make another comment, you "appeal" to logic, in order to exchange information/ideas, which is what communication is all about.

I really don't get your confusion on the matter, it just seems so simple to me.

When "people" communicate they are required to make a logical statement, in order to be "understood". The "bible" and other religious doctrine, teaches many theists they "must" go out and "preach" the word and "witness", this is a "requirement", not a "suggestion".

In order to do this "effectively", they "must" appeal to "logic", in order to exchange their information/message/ideas to others. In a weird sort of way, the Christian specifically, is tasked to communicate with others, and "must" rely on logic in order to be understood... but, the bible, taken as stand-alone written text, without any historical context, etc., can not be "logically" communicated to others. There are too many conflicted references in the bible, if no context is provided.

Now, contrast that with atheism, a person begins as a naturally implicit atheist, an infant, no reason or logic required, because they just "lack a belief in a god/s".

Further, there is no "doctrine" that suggests that atheists "need" or are "required" to preach a message or "convey" their ideas on atheism. Thus, logical communication is "not" required to be an atheist.

How you see atheism as requiring "anything" across the board, to "include" logical authority, is incomprehensible to me. The only uniting factor of atheism is the lack of belief in a theological first principle, period.

While it may be true, that "some" have logically founded their philosophy, to become one of the category atheism, it is not a "required" path... and because it is "not" a "required path", there have been, uh, let's say... debates on the matter... some who suggest that "all" atheists should be given an "identity" based on "episteme", and other groups who suggest that atheists need to be "identified" in a social context, for political purposes.

You appear to be one, who is suggesting that "all" atheists should be identified by their united front of a logical "episteme", but that grossly underestimates the diversity of those who fall under the umbrella of atheism.

I believe I read another thread, that was hitting this very topic... of... atheism, and it's national identity. Atheism is not a homogenous group than can be given an identity through "democratic" vote. I bring this up, because, you appear to want to vote yes, to identifying everyone in the category of atheism as those who "demand" a logical episteme, both of themselves and of everyone else in the world. I disagree with such an assertion.

There may be principles that guide our lives Chris, some start their principles with the non-existence of God/s, while others start their principles with what they know - and both people, coming from two entirely different methods of understanding Reality, can come up under the category of atheism.

It isn't the "method" that identifies "all" atheists... it's where they end up as a result of their method that gives them unity as a category.

And, while I saw another thread on this topic, attempting to tease the perimeter of creating a national identity for the category of atheism; I think method is not going to be the uniting factor, and is why Chris, I disagree with your assertion that "logic" as "method" is some "mandatory" factor that can be used to form some kind of argument to be used against "all" atheists.

While we are united semantically, we are divided by method many times, and that isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it is something that you must come to terms with, if you are going to further your argument that "all" atheists, "demand" logic as the sole authority/factor in holding a position.

Do you know what a "nihilist" is?

Nihilism: "Nihilism (from the Latin nihil, nothing) is a philosophical position, sometimes called an anti-philosophy, which argues that the world, especially past and current human existence, is without objective meaning, purpose, comprehensible truth, or essential value."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nihilism

You do understand, that such a person doesn't accept "anything" as meaningful, and therefore "lacks belief in not only a God/s", but as well, suggests their very statement is meaningless, as part of the "all" that is meaningless.

Now, as contradictory as I find that position, because one is theoretically making a "meaningful" statement, while claiming "everything" to include their statement is meaningless - is... well, contradictory.

Do you find that position, to be "logical"? Does such a person hold a "belief" in a God/s? No. There are other forms of thought/philosophy/anti-philosophy, etc., that many accept, to find themselves in the category of atheism.

If you don't "understand" that "logic" is "not" a pre-requisite to find a position in the category of atheism, then... you have no logical ability at this time to communicate with others, i.e., exchange information/ideas, effectively, etc.

To end, "I"... require "logic" when I communicate with others, because without that, communication breaks down and becomes ineffective. However, Chris... "I"... don't represent "all" atheists under the category of atheism on this "planet".

Anonymous said...

Chris A.: "That "Pascal's Wager" line of reasoning has been bothering me again, as well..."

Really? why?

webmdave said...

Chris A.: "That "Pascal's Wager" line of reasoning has been bothering me again, as well..."

Yeah, I know what you mean. I keep wondering, "What if Allah is real and Islam is the TRUTH™?" In that case I'd surely go to hell either as a Christian or as an atheist. But what if Shintoism or Buddhism or Mormonism or Olympianism or Hinduism or one of the other myriad superstitious "isms" that people have believed with all their hearts, minds, and souls over the centuries turns out to be the TRUTH™? Man, sorting through all this stuff is like spinning the roulette wheel. There are to many choices! No matter which one I pick, I'll still be making a gamble!

And, since I'm only gambling on one of these gods and its associated religion out of fear of threatened consequences, I'm terrified my sincerity will be called into question by whichever god is the right one.

Then, after all that, it occurs to me that I am using my human reasoning ability to come up with these ideas. And religionists keep telling me (using their human reasoning) that human reasoning is subject to flaw and not to be trusted. So what am I to do? I can't discover anything by thinking about it, because that would be using my human reasoning. I can't listen to what anyone else on the planet has to say, because that would be listening to their human reasoning.

I know what I'll do. I'll just sit here in a meditative state and wait for the one "TRUE GOD™" to directly reveal herself to my consciousness. Only revelation knowledge is to be trusted, except revelation knowledge cannot be passed on to others because revelation knowledge, once it is repeated, becomes hearsay.

Hmm.

Anonymous said...

Chris A. wrote:
"It seems that I'm just going to have to make a choice, here. Either I assume the authority of logic, or I assume the authority of a religion... I should probably choose soon; I'm worrying myself into an early grave...
But, since early yesterday evening, I've been worrying once more that maybe the Christians are safer than the atheists... I spent most of my spare time today crunching the numbers to see if it was true...."

Dan to the rescue:
Chris!
Do you think that whatever created the universe with billions of galaxies, and trillions of planets (assuming that it is intelligent) is up there on his/her throne, agonizing about what you believe or don't believe?

Isn't that just a bit egotistical of you? Isn't that kind of an insult to "It?"

You thinking "it" could be that petty, that is?

If you just say "I don't know," it will put you right in line (theologically speaking) with everyone else on the planet!

Just say "I don't know," and get on with your life. You can't know what God wants or what God thinks, because you don't know WHAT GOD IS!

(I'm not sure but I think that's what Dave8 was telling you at one point in his post.)

Anonymous said...

Dano: "(I'm not sure but I think that's what Dave8 was telling you at one point in his post.)"

Yep, that's pretty much it, unless Chris can figure out what God is, then they have no "idea" what they should or shouldn't be worried about :-) Have a great one.

Anonymous said...

Dave8: "To end, "I"... require "logic" when I communicate with others, because without that, communication breaks down and becomes ineffective. However, Chris... "I"... don't represent "all" atheists under the category of atheism on this "planet"."

Just a thought there Chris... how do you think a Christian typically "Identifies" their "Self" to "others", when asked "who" they are?

Choose from the following options...

Question to Christian: Who are "you"?

Response 1 - I'm a good person who just happens to be a Christian.

-or-

Response 2 - I'm a good Christian who just happens to be a person.

Something to think about, losing one's Self-Identity, or... never really being able to establish it... doesn't sound mentally healthy to me. What do you think?

Anonymous said...

Chris A. wrote

It seems that I'm just going to have to make a choice, here. Either I assume the authority of logic, or I assume the authority of a religion...

Chris, why is this an either/or question? Logic, reason and evidence are what we use to separate fact from fiction, why do you have to abandon them when it comes to religion? If religion is real shouldn't there be good evidence for it? If you decide to "assume the authority of a religion," which religion is the authoritative one?

Anonymous said...

Well, I've did the math, and the numbers don't lie.

The safest thing is to learn about all the beliefs that don't contradict each other, start believing in all of them, and hope that I've chosen correctly. No, I'm not joking, and I'd really appreciate it if the Webmaster would stop making light of my fears...

Anonymous said...

Chris A.: "Well, I've did the math, and the numbers don't lie."

So, doubt has led you to further your search for answers, and you are going to use a method that prevents contradiction from entering your view of reality - that sounds honest.

Well, since you are going to start, what can you accept to be absolutely true, and beyond doubt so you can begin your journey?

If you don't choose "something", then you can never really be sure about "anything".

boomSLANG said...
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boomSLANG said...

Chris A: Well, I've did the math, and the numbers don't lie.

You've done the math on what, exactly? And in using "math"---are you assuming, or "taking a great risk", that math as a "methodology" is, as you previously put it, "objectively valid"?.....or do you know that it's "objectively valid"?

Chris A.: The safest thing is to learn about all the beliefs that don't contradict each other, start believing in all of them, and hope that I've chosen correctly.

It could be that you just worded your statement haphazardly---but the fact that beliefs "contradict each other", is what precludes them from agreeing with each other; that's what prevents them from being the same, yes? Yes. Okay, there are literally MILLIONS of religious/spiritual beliefs to choose from that are not the same. Even the 33,000 some-odd Christian denominations/sects cannot agree on even the essentials for avoiding "hell".

So, entering the non-Christian beliefs back into the equation, too---the odds of ONE of millions of religious beliefs being the One Truth, with and all others being false, isn't much greater than ALL of them being false. So, the logical thing to do is to believe NONE of them, because you could never study and weigh the evidence of that many religious beliefs in your lifetime, anyway.

Chris A.: No, I'm not joking, and I'd really appreciate it if the Webmaster would stop making light of my fears...

Employing Pascal's Wager as a logical "reason" to believe in God, is pretty silly(review above).

If you don't won't people making silly of your beliefs, then don't say, and believe, silly things.

Anonymous said...

...I should explain what I meant when I said I'd "done the math".

Over the past couple of days, I've been repeatedly calculating the risks in atheism, Christianity, Islam, and the possibility that all people of faith go to hell.

Assuming I did the math correctly, all four possibilities come out with an equal level of risk. At least, that's what the numbers seemed to say.

However, lately I've had the nagging feeling that there's a huge, gaping hole in this logic, and I still haven't figured out precisely what it might be...

Anyway, this morning, consumed as usual with the fear that atheism means taking a foolish risk, I had the idea of plugging two complimentary beliefs into the formula. No, I didn't have any pair of complimentary beliefs in mind, but certainly some must exist, and the numbers say that the aformentioned beliefs are the safest bet. That is, if I've done the math right...

boomSLANG said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
boomSLANG said...

Chris A.:...I should explain what I meant when I said I'd "done the math".

Yeah, you should explain it.....but yet, you still have not. For example, in the following statement you merely say you've calculated "the risks" of "Atheism, Christianity, and Islam". Yet, you are STILL operating under the assumption that either Christianity or Islam---either one, or the other---MUST be true. Furthermore, you erroneously make two more assumptions, and that is, you passively list "Atheism" as "faith", which it is not...and you assume that to not have any belief in God/gods(Atheism) cannot possibly valid. Here is that statement:

Chris: "Over the past couple of days, I've been repeatedly calculating the risks in atheism, Christianity, Islam, and the possibility that all people of faith go to hell."

On top of the fallacies that I've already pointed out---what statistics, if any, did you use in "calculating the risks"? Also, what about entertaining this: What if NO ONE goes to "hell"? What if ALL religious beliefs are just the rantings of ignorant Bronze-aged men, who had only a small fraction of the knowledge that 21st century man has?

Chris A.: Assuming I did the math correctly, all four possibilities come out with an equal level of risk. At least, that's what the numbers seemed to say.

Again...whAT "numbers"???????? "Numbers based on whAT?

Chris A.: However, lately I've had the nagging feeling that there's a huge, gaping hole in this logic, and I still haven't figured out precisely what it might be...

Forgive me, but I fail to see where you've used "logic", yet. Can you point me to where?

Chris A.: Anyway, this morning, consumed as usual with the fear that atheism means taking a foolish risk, I had the idea of plugging two complimentary beliefs into the formula. No, I didn't have any pair of complimentary beliefs in mind, but certainly some must exist, and the numbers say that the aformentioned beliefs are the safest bet. That is, if I've done the math right...

Good grief!...what "numbers"; what "math"!?!?!?!! Show me the exact mathematical equation that says that Atheism means taking the greatest "risk". Show me the exact mathematical equation that says that there MUST be a "heaven" and "hell". If you cannot/will not produce this information in your next post, I'll assume my suspicion as correct all along.... and that is, that you are just another disingenuous Christian looking to extol your belief as superior, by posing as someone who is "on the fence" about religion. Get real, kid.

Anonymous said...

Chris A. said...
"Over the past couple of days, I've been repeatedly calculating the risks in atheism, Christianity, Islam, and the possibility that all people of faith go to hell"
--
Boom, sorry to butt in here, but I just have to ask Chris here, a begging question I have.

Chris A.,

How does one go about quantifying beliefs based in philosophies alone?

How does one assign a numeric value to a 'belief'.

Do you take out your ruler and measure the xtian god from head to foot, to give him a value?
Do you count up all the words from each holy book and whichever writers wrote the most words, wins the game. I guess atheism loses then, as we have no book for you to count up.

Frankly Chris, the way I see things, your assigned numbers can only be as good as conjecture would be in a court room.
To put it another way, you can plug in all kinds of numbers into the fastest computer on earth, but if what you put in is garbage, then what you get out is also garbage.

I see no way possible to use metrics when it comes to what one chooses to believe about an invisible unprovable god being.


ATF (who wonders if Chris is using a god-given calculator for his big math problem)

Anonymous said...

I think Chris A is putting us on!

No one could be that confused by accident!

No one could be so oblivious to what people are telling him except by intentional design.

Anonymous said...

I don't see what's so hard to grasp... I just looked at three different faiths (and atheism), and looked at the consequences:

"If the atheists are right, but I'm a Christian, I'll have wasted my life (and a substantial part of my income) in empty gestures."

"If the Christians are right, but I'm an atheist, I'm in for some good ol' fashioned damnation in Hell."

"On the other hand, if the Muslims have had it right all along... Well, I guess I lose either way, there."

"But if God actually hates it when people believe stupid crap like that..."

And I continued with that until I'd covered most of the potential rewards and consequences inherent in each faith (and atheism). That clear things up?

...

...No, I'm not another disingenuous Christian; just a very uncertain, very frightened semi-atheist. Yes, I'm somewhat irrational on the matter, but...

boomSLANG said...

Chris A is back with:

I don't see what's so hard to grasp... I just looked at three different faiths (and atheism), and looked at the consequences:[Again, inserts Pascals wager, as if he hasn't heard a thing ANY OF US has been saying]

Notwithstanding, I was correct, you didn't do any "mathematics", nor look at any "numbers". You've misrepresented your conclusion. You've lied.

Pascal's wager(AGAIN!!!!):

"If the atheists are right, but I'm a Christian, I'll have wasted my life (and a substantial part of my income) in empty gestures."

"If the Christians are right, but I'm an atheist, I'm in for some good ol' fashioned damnation in Hell."

"On the other hand, if the Muslims have had it right all along... Well, I guess I lose either way, there."


Then... this statement mysteriously creeps in the equation from out of nowhere:

"But if God actually hates it when people believe stupid crap like that..."

What? God hates whAT "stupid crap"? Which "God" would that be?...um, it wouldn't happen to be the Christian "God", would it???? Affirming the consequence?

Also, you also didn't include Buddhism, nor Hinduism, in your calculations. In other words, your "test" is far from objective. You didn't even consider reincarnation as an option.

Can I ask your age? This will determine how, or if, I will respond in the future. Please be honest. I'm guessing between 16 and 21.

J. C. Samuelson said...

Chris A.,

Apologies if someone has already said something like what I've written below. I didn't read all the comments.

Over the past couple of days, I've been repeatedly calculating the risks in atheism, Christianity, Islam, and the possibility that all people of faith go to hell.

Assuming I did the math correctly, all four possibilities come out with an equal level of risk. At least, that's what the numbers seemed to say.

However, lately I've had the nagging feeling that there's a huge, gaping hole in this logic, and I still haven't figured out precisely what it might be...


Your intuition is trying to tell you something. Mathematics is concerned with the interaction of values, but without first making a significant leap of faith one simply cannot credibly assign an accurate value to a concept such as God, a concept for which there isn't even a fixed definition. Thus, any value you might have assigned will be arbitrary, and based on a priori and subjective assumptions about whatever baseline truth value you think each has. One might be able to assign a more-or-less reasonable value to each piece of evidence that is offered and then calculate a sum, but this requires an in-depth analysis of each piece of evidence. Even then, any numeric value assigned will be inherently arbitrary and therefore of dubious usefulness.

Basically, for your method to have worked so quickly and for it to have yielded the results it did, you would have to begin by assuming that there is an equal probability of both the natural and the supernatural, even before getting to the specific claims of Christianity, Islam, or atheism. Yet while the supernatural may be possible, there is no credible evidence to support it as probable, or even necessarily plausible. On the other hand, there is abundant support for the natural - it's all around us. The two are not remotely equal. So again, in order to support your calculations as they stand, your method would have had to assume certain probabilities that have not been established. The numeric values you've assigned are therefore subjective and arbitrary.

Your elaborate re-construction of Pascal's Wager is simply confusing matters. There's no need to assume more than is warranted, and since the results are going to be deceiving (due to a flawed methodology), there's no reason to accept them. Not only that, but you don't mention whether you included assigned values for every possible god, including every one that has ever been invented and those that haven't been invented yet. What about the Hindu gods, or those belonging to any other pantheon humanity has ever professed a belief in? They too have a part in your calculations, and suffer from the same shortcomings.

...No, I'm not another disingenuous Christian; just a very uncertain, very frightened semi-atheist. Yes, I'm somewhat irrational on the matter, but...

Fear is at the heart of Pascal's Wager. And, as you know, it's irrational. One of its most basic flaws is, with the ubiquitous number of gods, it's always possible to choose the wrong one. If you're going to hedge your bets, wouldn't you have to believe in all of them just in case your first choice was wrong?

Anonymous said...

J. C. Samuelson said to Chris A:
"Fear is at the heart of Pascal's Wager. And, as you know, it's irrational. One of its most basic flaws is, with the ubiquitous number of gods, it's always possible to choose the wrong one"
--
Not to mention; no god worth his/her salt, would be fooled by a false devotion to them, that is solely based on a desire to avoid it's punishments.

So Chris, if you think you're going to fool the god you pick by faking a devotion to them, then you're only fooling yourself in the end.


ATF

Anonymous said...

You would have to begin by assuming that there is an equal probability of both the natural and the supernatural, even before getting to the specific claims of Christianity, Islam, or atheism.

That was one of my first assumptions, yes. If it can't be proven false, I must accept the possibility that might be true, and act accordingly.

Yet while the supernatural may be possible, there is no credible evidence to support it as probable, or even necessarily plausible.

According to reason, yes. But please remember that I'm trying to take into account the possibility of human reason being in error.

With the ubiquitous number of gods, it's always possible to choose the wrong one.

Yes, if I were to choose one faith, it wouldn't seem to matter which one I chose; given certain assumptions, all beliefs have the same chance of being correct. But if I were to believe all the faiths that didn't contradict each other, then I could avoid the greatest number of possible hells.

If you think you're going to fool the god you pick by faking a devotion to them, then you're only fooling yourself in the end.

A slim chance, true, but better than none at all.

J. C. Samuelson said...

Chris A.,

That was one of my first assumptions, yes. If it can't be proven false, I must accept the possibility that might be true, and act accordingly.

As reasonable as this sounds, the point I was trying to make is that "possible" is not the same as "probable." It's possible that invisible, purple, 23-legged swine inhabit the surface of Mars, and are responsible for the apparent canal-like structures on that planet. However, the probability (or if you like, the likelihood) of such things existing would not be equivalent to the probability for the existence of ordinary swine here on Earth (which, of course, is 100%). So, do you see how beginning with the assumption of equal probability is a poor basis for comparing possibilities?

According to reason, yes. But please remember that I'm trying to take into account the possibility of human reason being in error.

Well, reason itself is subjective, and I agree that it's often faulty. But we're not talking only about what might be intuitively possible and therefore apparently reasonable. We're also talking about evidence. Some indication that two possible claims are based on equivalent facts. A claim that ordinary pigs exist has an overwhelming basis in facts, while claims that Martian pigs exist has a very slim factual basis, if at all. Thus, while both can be considered equally possible, both are not equally probable.

The same principle applies to claims concerning the natural vs. the supernatural world.

But if I were to believe all the faiths that didn't contradict each other, then I could avoid the greatest number of possible hells.

But they do contradict each other, that's part of the problem. Read the Qu'ran vs. the Bible, or the Hindu Vedas vs. the Torah. Heck, read the Bible vs. the Bible, or the Qu'ran vs. the Qu'ran. Not only are they externally incompatible, but internally inconsistent as well. That there is any chance at all that one or more of them might get it right is a poor basis for believing any of them, much less all of them. You're setting yourself up for utter confusion.

boomSLANG said...

Chris A. repeats: But if I were to believe all the faiths that didn't contradict each other, then I could avoid the greatest number of possible hells

Honestly, what in jahannam are you talking about? Again---and as pointed out to you, now, by a second person---if two or more beliefs did not "contradict", then they'd be compatible. Clearly, this is NOT the case, though. Just the thousands of split-offs of Christianity, alone, are incompatible on the presumed essentials, let alone the non-essentials. In other words, if we hypothetically narrowed it down to Christianity being the "Truth", you'd be gambling on which denomination/sect to join. Geesh!

Pascal's Wager fails.

Anonymous said...

j. c. samuelson: I think I've got your point. Or part of it, at least.

Let's say I were to learn of two religious beliefs that didn't contradict each other; then they'd be two different articles of one faith... Which would make my proposed plan no safer than becoming a monk, for example. Did I get it? Am I starting to make sense now?

Also, regarding what you said about possibility being inequivalent to probability, I have to agree. Looked at objectively, the claims of Christianity do have little to no chance of being true.

However, I don't know about you, but even a microscopic chance of eternal damnation is enough to spoil my week.

Anonymous said...

Chris, you have been given quality insight regarding your Pascal's Wager drama.

I just want to recap, what has happened from what I have seen up to this point, and pass on a little personal experience that seems to relate.

Your initial premise, was that "all" atheists, appeal to "logic" as their authority, and that "all" theists, or at least Christians, appeal to the bible for their authority.

Now, you have leveraged "logic" to support your need to communicate. Albeit, you attempted to "evade" the logic mine-field, by stating;

Chris A. [October 20, 2007]: "Yes, I'm somewhat irrational on the matter, but..."

I want to make sure, you understand that you are appealing to "logic", no matter what label you appeal to, or believe most defines your position.

Miscommunication or the exchange of arbitrary ideas can occur, if one is irrational... However, if one is going to attempt to communicate effectively, to exchange/pass an idea with another person, they are going to have to articulate their position in an objective manner, with logical structure. So, there is no "logic authority" police running around saying that "all" atheists must adhere to logic, "logic" is required by "convention" in order to communicate effectively.

So, in my perspective; you have fallen into the appeal to logic category, what remains, is your attempt to say that it is not necessary for the theist/Christian.

I would not disagree that a theist/Christian need appeal to logic in order to "believe" or "accept" a propositional statement as truth. However, that is on the "receiving" end of a discussion... or, that part of communication which only allows for "one-way" communication.

A Christian may well accept something irrational/illogical, but they can't "communicate" their belief to others effectively, unless they appeal to logic, or they "assume" that "everyone else", blindly accepts their arbitrary statements because "they" did, without truly "understanding" what "idea" is being accepted. It's a perpetual chain of miscommunication that allows such a theology to exist and thrive.

Now, I could tweak my expressions posted earlier to be more robust and functional, but... I really don't think that is necessary. You will fall into one of the categories modeled, even if you fall into one by sheer evasion of all communication, or you assume a moral/ethical first principle by which to take a position.

But, epistemology will come into effect, the second you attempt to communicate your categorical position and statements to others.

Let's see, regarding your attempt to be coy with logic, which is really borderline deceptive to me, because you are attempting to "ride" the fence of "ignorance" while making a solid argument - which inherently requires logic.

True story; I have followed a particular case where a defendant committed murder. After committing the murder, and trial proceedings began, the individual attempted to "build" a case for an insanity plea...

This individual used court precedent, state codes, and a myriad of other methods to build a strong case... for an "insanity" plea, which was founded on the premise of mental retardation. As, in most cases, the death penalty can't be leveraged against those who are mentally unstable or aware of the consequences of their actions.

Do you find this tactic "odd"? I mean, this individual attempted to ride the fence of "logic" as well, suggesting they were "not really" able to be "logical", yet, they were "logical enough" to build a solid defense case. I find that contradictory, so did the judge - the individual will be executed in the next few years by lethal injection.

You see, no one really bought the story, of "a little bit irrational". Do you get the point, or are you still attempting to play your little game, to entice those whom you feel have a greater propensity to accept a proposition, built on "fear" without "evidence" nor "logical foundation".

Logical foundation is in fact, the standard that was used, to ensure the death of this individual.

So, as much as it amuses me that you are using trial and error, as your method to find a median where people will accept your confusion and perhaps slip back to their previous belief system, because of fear... I will not be one of those. But, perhaps, you already understand this, and is why you have consistently failed to address me, when I pose questions to you.

I don't have the patience to create symbolic expressions to make the point right now, but I will tell you this, you are employing a strategy that affirms the consequence, as has been expressed by others.

You make "propositions" using words that hold no meaning, except in a subjective sense, that is, in your mind only.

Chris A.: "However, I don't know about you, but even a microscopic chance of eternal damnation is enough to spoil my week."

For instance, "damnation", has no objective meaning in Reality. If you have one of those, I'd like to see it. You don't, it's an "idea", one that is "subject" to your personal mind (subjective).

Some, ideas hold the potential to "become" validated over time; eternity is not "one" of those ideas, and eternal "damnation" surely isn't one of those either.

So, what you are doing is nothing more than creating mental ideas, and trying to "enter" them as evidence in your "proposition".

That means, there is "zero" possibility that your idea has any "merit", because you haven't "defined" the terms of your proposition. Thus there isn't even a "microscopic" chance for the effects of your mentally "proposed" scenario to be true.

To end, one can only hope that you don't actually believe what you are proposing, else... there is a greater potential for you to find conflict and suffering in society, if your actions follow your thinking. If your actions don't actually follow what you believe; you'll undergo mental stress that requires mental energy to keep in balance/control - suffering.

J. C. Samuelson said...

Chris A.,

Let's say I were to learn of two religious beliefs that didn't contradict each other; then they'd be two different articles of one faith... Which would make my proposed plan no safer than becoming a monk, for example. Did I get it? Am I starting to make sense now?

Well, I do understand what you're suggesting, but the only circumstance that comes close to matching it is that which exists between different denominations, such as between Methodist and Baptist, or Sunni and Shiite. Both of these examples do seem to fit your criteria. Or, to stretch the boundaries a bit, between Mormonism & Christianity. Other than these examples, the situation you describe is an idealistic fantasy. Furthermore, even if we grant - provisionally - that the basic logic of your argument is sound, there is still that leap we talked about; the assumption that ordinary claims and extraordinary claims have an equal probability of truth. Dealing with this assumption must precede what you're arguing here, otherwise there is no basis for offering this argument at all.

Essentially, Chris, Pascal's Wager is an appeal to consequences which, as you may know, is a logical fallacy. Instead of relying on any supporting evidence, it asserts the existence of something merely on the basis of what is desirable or not. It's not unlike believing Angelina Jolie is in love with you because the alternative seems too unpleasant. Rather than relying on and delivering bracing truth, however, it relies on and delivers an apparently comfortable delusion. There may be, in fact, an infinitesimal chance that she is (or could fall) in love with you, which would seemingly save you from the consequences (e.g., pain) of rejection. Yet does this tiny chance justify forming a belief that might just prompt you to begin hanging around her house, waiting for her to come out an leap into your arms? I'd hope not, for her sake and yours. I put it to you that this is no different from choosing a belief in God because the possible consequences seem too frightful.

But more important than any of this is that beliefs usually have actual consequences in this life. The above example is relatively harmless, but with religion how are you going to deal with ethical dilemmas when your choice to hedge your bets by believing in every single belief system inevitably results in conflict? Your ethical decision will have an impact for someone or some group other than yourself. Still, where you're concerned, chances are you're going to choose whatever seems right to you. Invariably, this will run counter to one or more precepts contained in your multitudinous library of holy books and the diverse and incompatible traditions. Thus, you will still be in danger of running afoul of one or more gods in spite of the fact you've professed to believe in all of them. Even if you limit the scope of your Wager, you run this risk. You'll just have fewer gods to risk offending. And, in this case, you will not have fulfilled the requirements of the Wager; to believe in all gods just in case one of them might be real.

In any case, before one can begin to deeply parse the implications of the Wager, the assumptions we've been talking about have to be addressed. So, we're still at square one, and yet you've made the claim that your calculations indicate a greater risk for atheists than theists. Some leaps have been made, and some fallacies employed, that have to be cleaned up.

Alright, I'm out of time for tonight.

Good posts, Dave8 & boomy.

J. C. Samuelson said...

Correction:

"I put it to you that, as a matter of logic, this is analogous to choosing a belief in God because the possible consequences seem too frightful."

There is, of course, one major difference between Angelina Jolie and God, making them less than perfectly analogous: the existence of the former can be independently proven. You, me, and others we don't know can potentially go and see Angelina in person and we'll all describe her in more-or-less equal terms. She has dark hair, pouty lips, and so forth depending on what we each focus on. If a scientist were to study the Angelina phenomenon, the scientist could make several empirical observations, e.g., a chemical analysis of her dark hair shows numerous colorings, or a biopsy of her lips reveals extensive surgical application of collagen, and more. ;) So, since God doesn't seem to make public appearances and apparently hasn't been available for examination, the two aren't quite the same.

Still, the logic used is similar enough for the analogy to be (hopefully) illustrative.

TheJaytheist said...

Chris,

(If this has already been addressed please tell me.)


Isn't it just as likely that the only people that are going to hell are the ones who are trying not to?

Kinda throws a monkey in the wrench there doesn't it.

Anonymous said...

j.c. samuelson: Sorry, I was being unclear. What I meant to say is that I've realized that my plan had yet another flaw, a flaw that, even given my assumptions, still renders it no safer (or saner) than any other proposed faith.

But, beforehand, I'll say that I did recognize that Pascal's Wager is inherently flawed. I recognized, also, that no matter *what* I chose to believe in, I'd still be risking an infinite (?) number of hells if I was wrong.

But, I guess I just couldn't believe that my fear of hell could be done away with so easily... I became obsessed with the notion that there was some flaw in the Refutation of Pascal's Wager, some well-hidden divide-by-zero that, once unveiled, would prove to me that, yes, I was obligated to spend my life groveling before (a) god. In case you can't tell, I had a very religious upbringing.

What this irrational line of reasoning eventually lead me to conclude was that, if I could find at least one or two faiths that didn't contradict each other, then by believing in both of them, I could avoid at one or two more hells than I could by being an atheist.

You and others have already made my plan's problem abundantly clear: most, if not all faiths are contradictory by definition. I know. I've checked. But, driven by fear, I persisted in ignoring this, only to find that my idea has an even more damning flaw. I'll elaborate:

Let's imagine a pair of completely compatible beliefs. "God loves those who love their fellow human beings" and "The selfish shall suffer in hell", for example. Since the two don't contradict each other, they're pretty much the same as two articles of one faith. This, of course, tends to defeat the point of trying to have more than one faith.

So, yeah, I confess: my plan was not only fundamentally flawed, but demonstrably irrational on several different levels. I admit that, but I really couldn't help it; I was drunk on fear and paranoia. Have I started making sense again?

J. C. Samuelson said...

Chris A.,

Yes, you're now making sense. Sorry I didn't get that.

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